Stephen Lawrence, a young black man from London was murdered in 1993 by a gang of racist white youths. None of his murderers were arrested or convicted at the time, leading to an investigation that concluded the police force were ‘institutionally racist.’ Lawrence’s case became well-known in the UK and it left a lasting legacy for those who sought justice against police racism.
The family of Stephen Lawrence is held a memorial service on the 20th anniversary of their son’s murder. High profile figures payed their respects to a young man whose death had helped put the spotlight on racial inequality in Britain.
The Lawrence family had mounted a relentless campaign for many years to bring justice to those who were guilty of their son’s murder. Their activism had ended up challenging the police force’s discriminative behaviour towards blacks and ethnic minorities. But some activists believe that not enough is being done by the government.
‘significant changes have been made. 2 of the 5 murderers have been brought to justice, but three are on the loose. Justice in its entirety hasn’t been served, and equally those race inequality gaps which persisted then, many of which are still going on today.’
A new report reveals that ethnic minorities in Britain are more subjected to stop and searches by the police than their white counterparts. The report found that during 1999-2000, the stop rate for black people was 4.9%. Ten years later the rate was 10.8% for every black person in Britain. White people, on the other hand, were stopped from 1.5% to 1.6% over the course of ten years. But this inequality spreads further into other parts of society.
‘the disproportionate levels of black youth employment mean that you are more likely to be black and unemployed in London than you are in Greece and Spain, countries which are virtually bankrupt. There’s still a long way to go but my worry is that the government today do not have an agenda to tackle these persistent inequalities.’
Activists want the government to review policies which disproportionately affect black citizens in order to improve race relations and help prevent tensions between communities that otherwise could potentially save lives. Hassan Alkatib, Press TV, London.