Doreen Lawrence: A tireless campaigner for justice

January 4, 2012

Doreen Lawrence campaigned for justice for eighteen years after her son was killed in a racially-motivated attack. In January 2012 her efforts brought some sense of closure with the convictions of Gary Dobson and David Norris for Steven Lawrence’s murder

The efforts of Doreen and her husband Neville drew attention to the failure of the Metropolitan police to take the case seriously. They were to lead to the MacPherson report and its findings which accepted that the force was institutionally racist and which initiated major efforts to changes in policing in the UK which are still on-going.

The Telegraph noted that it took:

18 years of relentless campaigning, two failed prosecutions, a public inquiry and a £4 million police inquiry to convict Gary Dobson and David Norris for the murder of teenager Stephen Lawrence.

In 1999, after years of campaigning a judicial inquiry was established by Jack Straw, the Home Secretary. Chaired by Sir William MacPherson, the inquiry concluded that the Metropolitan Police was ‘institutionally racist’ which was one of the primary causes of its failure to solve the case.

Jamaican-born Doreen Lawrence worked in a bank after moving to the UK. She campaigned for justice for her son’s death, and broadened her efforts for reforms of the police service and community relations, founding the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust

Doreen Lawrence has shown exceptional leadership qualities of persistence, determination, and considerable skills at influencing and motivating others. Her efforts match those of other leaders who fight to achieve justice for a cause.


Image of Doreen Lawrence is from Bradford University website, on her inauguration as an Honorary Doctor of the University


Sentancing took place this morning at the Old Bailey. The BBC account was still being updated, mid day, but gives an overview of an historic case which helped change the law and perhaps helped change public attitudes towards hate crimes and acceptance of institutional racism in the United Kingdom.