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23rd Apr 2018

Theresa May proclaims April 22nd Stephen Lawrence Day

Will Lavin

A national day of commemoration for murdered teen Stephen Lawrence was announced today.

It’s been 25 years since the murder of 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence shook the country.

At a memorial service marking the anniversary of his death, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that April 22nd would annually be known as Stephen Lawrence Day.

Taking place today, a number of national figures joined Mrs. May, as well as Stephen’s parents Doreen and Neville, at the service held at St. Martin-in-the-Fields church in central London. Those in attendance included Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Jeremy Corbyn and Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick.

Fatally stabbed in a racially-motivated attack in London April 22nd 1993, it proved a watershed moment in race relations in the UK after the subsequent Macpherson Report concluded that police made mistakes and were guilty of institutional racism.

Meeting with Stephen’s mother and brother Stuart before the service, Prince Harry offered a message of support on behalf of the Prince of Wales – in 2000 he gave the annual Stephen Lawrence Memorial Lecture.

The Prime Minister gave a scripture reading at the service while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn read an extract from Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk To Freedom.

“For the past 25 years,” Mrs. May added. “Doreen and Neville have fought heroically to ensue that their son’s life and death will never be forgotten.

“Their dignity, their courage and their sheer determination are an inspiration to us all.

“We are privileged to be here today at this special final anniversary service to commemorate Stephen.

“But it is right that Stephen’s name and legacy lives on. In the run-up to this service, I have spoken with Baroness Lawrence about how best to achieve this.

“And so, today, with Baroness Lawrence’s blessing, I can announce that the Government will work with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust to establish a national, annual commemoration of Stephen’s life and legacy, to take place on 22 April each year: Stephen Lawrence Day.”

Reading on behalf of his father, Prince Harry said:

“My father is very sorry not to be able to make it here so I am going to read some remarks on his behalf.

“‘It hardly seems possible that 25 years have passed since Stephen Lawrence was so cruelly taken from his family.

“‘I remember vividly the profound shock that I felt at his senseless murder, a feeling shared by so many people across this country and beyond.

“‘I remember, too, just how deeply moved I was by the determination of Stephen’s family to build something positive from the tragedy they endured and to ensure that Stephen’s story did not end with despair, but continued with hope.

“‘A quarter of a century later, we can only imagine the man who Stephen would have become, and just how his extraordinary potential might have been fulfilled.”‘