Bedfordshire

“A Voice for Change”, Baroness Doreen Lawrence. OBE, speaks at the University of Bedfordshire

todayOctober 20, 2023 48

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Baroness Doreen Lawrence, OBE, the mother of Stephen Lawrence, a young black man tragically murdered in London 30 years ago, emphasised the role that racial relations play in tackling inequalities within British schools.

Photo of Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon at the University of Bedfordshire: “A Voice for Change"
Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon at the University of Bedfordshire: “A Voice for Change”

As part of the ongoing “An Evening With” public lecture series at the University of Bedfordshire, Baroness Lawrence delivered an inspiring talk titled “A Legacy of Hope and Change.”

Her journey to the forefront of advocacy began with her relentless pursuit of justice for her son, Stephen, whose life was cut short by a heinous racist attack in London in 1993. This shocking incident sent shockwaves across the nation and remains etched in the collective memory of the public even after three decades.

In the years that followed, Baroness Lawrence committed her life and career to championing a legacy of hope for young people, particularly those hailing from disadvantaged communities.

During the introduction to her talk, Professor Rebecca Bunting, the University’s Vice Chancellor, underscored the profound impact of Baroness Lawrence’s work. She lauded her dedication, saying, “She came to prominence in her long battle to ensure that the perpetrators of the tragic and heinous murder of her son Stephen in London in 1993 were brought to justice.

In her address, Baroness Lawrence shared her journey of resilience and determination, stating, “I was not prepared for this battle. It is a journey of finding strength from within and keeping going, knowing that people are supporting me and my family. It’s been a great help, and I would like to thank you all.”

Her words resonated deeply with the well-attended audience, which included community leaders from diverse backgrounds, representatives from Bedfordshire Police, and students, all eager to engage, learn, and exchange their experiences with this remarkable advocate for change.

Her analysis of the current state of equality in the UK’s education system has sparked important conversations. During the question-and-answer session that followed her talk, she emphasised that her ongoing battle is to ensure that racism within schools is addressed.

Reflecting on her journey, Baroness Lawrence noted that her fight for social justice has been about finding inner strength and persevering, knowing that she has the support of countless individuals.
She highlighted the profound impact of Stephen’s death, noting how it led to changes in the double jeopardy law, police procedures, and how institutions approach race relations.

In recognition of her unwavering commitment, Baroness Lawrence was made a Labour peer in 2013, and in 2020, she led a review for the party on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black communities.
Her foundation, Stephen Lawrence Day, was established at a time when the world was awakening to the pressing issue of racial inequality. It stands as a beacon, inspiring a more equitable and inclusive society and creating opportunities for marginalised young people in the UK.

Baroness Lawrence’s tireless advocacy serves as a powerful testament to the potential for transformative change through perseverance, unity, and a resolute commitment to social justice.

Written by: AUK RADIO

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