On this day in 1993, an 18 year old Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death while waiting at a bus stop in Eltham, South East London. His death was not the only murder of a young black man by racist killers in south London in the early 90’s. Around that time, it was common to see racist slogans like “white power” daubed on walls round the local estates.
Black activists were forced to set up anti-racist groups as the police just weren’t taking the protection of young black people seriously. The lack of compassion and effort shown by the police force in their ‘attempts’ to address crimes against the black community continues to this day. In the case of Brother Stephen, it proved the systemic failings and institutionalized racism of the Metropolitan Police – a fact supported by the Macpherson report.
Not only did the Police fail the Lawrence family, but they had an officer, Peter Francis, spy on them – looking for “disinformation” to use in an attempt to smear the Lawrence family. Even after 18 years the black community is still denied justice. Only 2 of the 5 murderers have ever been caught.
If you think institutionalized racism is a thing of the past, you are wrong. Even if the statistics have improved and the graffiti has gone, racism survives. It has merely mutated into more subtle and insidious forms. To be sure, every organ of the British state works to legitimise White hegemony, undermine dissent, and glorify our brutal past.
It is from the graves of murdered black youth that our movement shall grow.
Rest in Power, Brother Stephen.
September 13th, 1974 – Aprill 22nd, 1993