Joseph Harker: How a Black Briton's Murder Led to Change

tags: Guardian (UK), The Root, Joseph Harker



Joseph Harker is assistant comment editor at the Guardian newspaper and a former editor of Black Briton newspaper. Follow him on Twitter.

(The Root) -- Exactly 20 years ago today, Stephen Lawrence woke up like a typical 18-year-old student. Studying technology and physics, he was hoping to go to college later that year to realize his dream of becoming an architect.

By the end of the day he was dead, stabbed to death by a gang of white racists as he waited by a bus stop near his home in southeast London. But his story lives on: His tragic killing on April 22, 1993, and its aftermath, captured the attention of the nation and had a huge impact on policing, race relations and the country's biggest institutions and corporations.

Stephen's parents, Neville and Doreen, like any grieving family, wanted justice. The police, it seemed, were ambivalent. They treated Stephen's friend Duwayne Brooks -- who had fled for his life and managed to escape the gang -- as a suspect. And though, in the following hours and days, many local people pointed fingers toward the same group of five people, officers took no meaningful action....



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