Doreen Lawrence: A tireless campaigner for justice

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.

5 Responses to Doreen Lawrence: A tireless campaigner for justice

  1. Mark Williamn says:

    There is nothing like the loss of a loved one in truly horrendous circumstances (particularly knowing who were responsible – seems the gang had a reputation) to focus determination and pursue the culprits to the bitter end. Well done Doreen for her determination seeking justice after nearly 18 years.

  2. Norma Viscardi says:

    Ms. Lawrence’s best leadership quality is her willingness to go beyond her feeling of revenge and transform a “horrendous circumstance” as my colleague has mentioned before into a better human relationship reality in the police environment. In my opinion,that is exactly what justice means.

  3. I hesitated to write about Doreen Lawrence before learning far more about the history available and I’m sure of what will now gradually emerge. Your replies suggest that LWD can play its small part in future discussions. Thank you Mark and Norma.

  4. Walid Saliba says:

    I agree with your quotes but I believe the determination is the main criteria of her Leadership.the Determination not only by finding the criminals but also with the human sense of protecting other families from such type of Racist murdering as she mentioned that “murders are still free on the Streets”.

  5. These comments have helped me appreciate the various explanations ‘from the outside’ of such a story.

    Other commentators have written about formative experiences producing a ‘crucible’ for leadership. Mrs Lawrence seems to have moved from the specific orientation for personal justice to the more general one of social concern and well-being.

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