The Murder That Changed A Nation

Stuart Lawrence, former secondary school teacher and younger brother of Stephen Lawrence has introduced three short films for the BBC Teach programme for GCSE aged students with these personal thoughts about his brother’s death and its impact on British society. This timely message is heartfelt in this climate and an inspiration to all, students and adults alike.

My name is Stuart Lawrence and I am the younger brother of Stephen Lawrence (13th September 1974 – 22nd April 1993).

Stephen was a black British teenager from Woolwich, south east London, who was murdered in a racially motivated attack while waiting for a bus in Well Hall, Eltham on the evening of 22nd April, 1993.

I stayed in education and followed a creative path which focused on graphics and design, taking a keen interest in typographical design.

After I completed a course at London College of Printing (which is now London College of Communications), I attended Northampton University to read Graphic Communication.

My working life has been varied; I have worked for the Home Office, HMP Belmarsh, and have recently finished a teaching career which spanned over 15 years at a secondary school in the south west London area.

Being in the education field, first as a teacher for over 15 years and now as a consultant, I understand the special and unique position that you, as teachers, are in.

I hope that you feel you have the confidence to use your own personal experiences and knowledge to help give your students a better understanding around these topics or areas, which some might struggle to relate to.

I now spend most of my time with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust to help promote Stephen Lawrence Day (22nd April).

My mum, Doreen Lawrence was elevated to the peerage as a Baroness on 6th September 2013, and is formally styled Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, of Clarendon in the Commonwealth Realm of Jamaica.

The honour is rare for being designated after a location in a Commonwealth realm outside the United Kingdom, and due to her not being married the rights that would be bestowed on her husband then went to her son and daughter, thus my full title is ‘The Right Honourable Stuart Andrew Lawrence’.

‘Treat others how you want to be treated.’

This statement takes an action that starts from yourself – ensure that you are polite and respectful to others because who would want someone to be rude or horrible to them?

This is one of the most important and best memories I have from my childhood and I believe that if we can get others, especially young people, to have this sort of idealism, then we will be leaving the country and the world in a better place.

I would like to think that these films have this underlining theme running through them all.

There were more than enough examples where we as a family could have given up or even considered finding justice another way.

These films should also be a reminder that we are all humans with emotions and feelings no matter of skin colour, religion or sexual orientation.

The things that we say and do to others in a negative way can have, and do have, lasting effects that can change the life of not just an individual but of that person’s whole family and even members of that family that have not even been born yet.

I hope that these documentaries can be used as a catalyst to start the difficult and meaningful conversations that will help to deal with issues that have always been there but are hard to talk about.

As a final message I would like to leave you with this…

‘Where you are right now; this city, this country, this world is yours to discover and explore, go out and Live Your Best Life.

Because tomorrow is not promised to anyone and life is short.

The secret to life?