Stephen Lawrence: 20 Years On

Posted on 27 March 2013

The murder of the teenager Stephen Lawrence at a bus stop in Eltham in April 1993 became an important moment in our modern history. The crime – and the police’s failure to catch his killers – shocked Britain. The dogged campaign led by the Lawrence family made social and legal history, with a major inquiry into institutional racism, and a change in the criminal law which saw two of his murderers finally convicted on new DNA evidence in 2012. Over the two decades since his death, Stephen Lawrence has symbolised hopes for change – and arguments about fairness, opportunity and racism in modern Britain.

Twenty years on, how much has changed – in Britain, in London, and in Eltham itself?

Have we made progress nationally – with a sharp decline in public racism, from the football terraces to school playgrounds – or do policing figures still suggest that not nearly enough has changed yet? And what do people in Eltham feel about how these changes were experienced locally – and the challenges which the local area faces today?

Eltham received massive national media attention. How far did this help to shine a light on problems of racism which needed to be addressed – and when did crude generalisations about the views of ‘white estates’ simply risk trading stereotypes? What impact has the growing diversity of Eltham itself since 1993 had?

British Future and Britain Thinks are holding a citizens’ jury in Eltham followed by a public debate to help to ensure that local voices are heard during our national conversations about how Britain changed since 1993.

On the panel at the debate, two influential backbencher MPs, Conservative MP Gavin Barwell and Labour MP David Lammy, as well as public attitudes specialist Deborah Mattinson will be discussing public attitudes to these areas and proposals from the workshop

Watch videos from the event and read more about the issues raised here.