It has been just over 25 years since Stephen Lawrence was murdered in one of the most infamous racially motivated crimes in living memory, it totally changed the way Britain treated race and racism.
On the 23rd of April, the Prime Minister Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, Prince Harry and Meghan as well as many other high profile members of society went to attend a service commemorating Stephen Lawrence’s life.
The Macpherson inquiry which spawned from the investigation, enshrined anti-racist legislation and gave further abilities for the public to hold the police to account. But how does Stephen’s legacy affect the youth of today who were mostly born after his murder?
There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered regarding Stephen Lawrence, including why the police sent someone to spy on his family? And people believe the Met did a poor job handling the initial case. Clifford Norris, the father of Lawrence’s murderer, used his influence and alleged connections to try and derail the investigation.
But Stephen’s story still has a lot of meaning today, just last summer Rashan Charles was found dead in his cell, and though there is no conclusive evidence to what exactly happened, a lot of people blame the police and think the force still harbours its prejudices.
Leroy Logan a retired police officer who wrote an article for the guardian on this subject said “Those who believe black people are expendable items at the hands of unaccountable cops will have had their fears strengthened.”
After Stephen was murdered, a charity called Stephen Lawrence trust helps to empower people from disadvantaged backgrounds, they carry out events and workshops in order to expand people’s horizon, they say they are “bridging the gap between young people in disadvantaged communities and the police”.
The Stephen Lawrence memorial has been vandalised 5 times now, in the most recent incident two teenagers were arrested for spitting on the plaque and a flower pot was broken. Racism still very much seems to be in London’s society today.
Even so, a lot of youths don’t even know who he is, I asked a handful of youngsters about Stephen Lawrence and not a single one knew who he was. I can see that the Stephen Lawrence trust is doing a great job, but his murder is of such great significance that we all need to try harder to preserve and spread his legacy.
The Commissioner of the Met, Cressida Dick said “The Met of today is not the Met of 25 years ago. However, we must not and I will not allow us to stand still. We must build even further on Stephen’s legacy.”