Stephen Lawrence Day
Stephen Lawrence Day is a holiday that’s observed annually in the United Kingdom on April 22nd. This holiday commemorates the life of Stephen Lawrence—a black teenager from Plumstead in southeast London that was killed in a racially motivated murder while waiting for a bus on April 22, 1993.
This murder, as well as the events that followed it, would result in fallout that would cause cultural changes and changes of attitudes in the United Kingdom on issues of racism and law enforcement. This day is a somber event that recalls the events of Stephen Lawrence’s death and revisits the issue of systemic racism.
The History Of Stephen Lawrence Day In The UK
Stephen Lawrence had spent the day of April 22, 1993, at Blackheath Bluecoat School. When he was done at school, he would visit shops in Lewisham before traveling to his uncle’s house in Grove Park by bus. He played video games until about 10 pm and then realized that the 286 bus would get him home late, so he decided to change to either bus 161 or bus route 122 on Well Hall Road.
Lawrence and his friend Brooks arrived at the bus stop on Well Hal Road at about 10:25 pm. As they were waiting for the bus, five or six white youths started calling them racial slurs and attacked Lawrence. The attackers forced Lawrence to the ground and stabbed him on both sides of the front of his body.
Both of these wounds would sever axillary arteries before penetrating a lung. Brooks and Lawrence ran to escape from the attackers, but Lawrence collapsed after running approximately 120-meters. He bled to death not long after.
Observing Stephen Lawrence Day In The UK
This somber occasion is usually observed with memorial events that recognize the life of Stephen Lawrence and mourn his death, and by holding events in the name of raising awareness about the need for social justice in the United Kingdom. It’s also a day used to raise money for the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust—an education charity that emphasizes social justice.