Doreen Lawrence

 

Baroness Doreen Lawrence of Clarendon was born in Jamaica, where she lived until the age of 9 when her family moved to the UK. In 1993, her son Stephen, aged 18, was killed in a racist attack in South East London. In the aftermath of his death, through over 20 years of campaigning, Baroness Lawrence has changed the face of justice for ethnic and racial minorities in the UK. Her campaigning has influenced reforms in police methods, challenged problematic public attitudes and broken the silence surrounding race-motivated crimes. Her efforts led to the Macpherson Inquiry, which investigated the circumstances surrounding Stephen’s murder and recognised the institutional racism of the Metropolitan Police. Baroness Lawrence, together with Stephen’s father Neville Lawrence, set up the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, building a legacy for their son, who wished to become an architect. Her actions have continued to be oriented toward securing the rights of ethnic and racial minorities, as, in her own words: ‘we must not fall into a false sense of security that all is well and there is no more to be done’. In 2003, she was awarded the Order of British Empire for services to community relations, and, 10 years later, she accepted a Labour peerage in the House of Lords. In 2012, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 14th Pride of Britain Awards in recognition of her role in campaigning for, and making headway toward, an inclusive and antiracist society. She was heralded as an icon for Britain when she was invited to participate in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, 2012. She is a board and council member of human rights organisation, Liberty, and is a patron of Stop Hate UK, a charity campaigning against hate crimes. Recently, Baroness Lawrence was proclaimed the UK’s most influential woman – a ‘game-changer’ – in BBC Woman’s Hour ‘Power List 2014’.