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Work towards a more hopeful tomorrow

Today we mark Stephen Lawrence Day, a day for us to reflect, learn and take action. Together we can inspire change and create a better future.

This prayer from the Church of England is helpful to ground us in the impact Stephen’s murder had 31 years ago and continue to look forward and be challenged by it today.

In the videos below, two members of the Diocesan Racial Diversity Advisory Group, Revd Canon Beverley Hunt and Revd Folli Olokose, share their reflections on today.


Geoff Andrews, another member of the Racial Diversity Advisory Group, shares his reflection on seeing the stage play “The Colour of Justice” 25 years ago:

“The script used only the words of the transcript of the Stephen Lawrence Enquiry, otherwise known as the MacPherson Report. I remember being shocked by the police testimonies of lost notebooks, selective memories, and the blindness to racism.

“The play closed with the judge, Lord MacPherson, inviting the courtroom to stand for a minute’s silence in memory of Stephen Lawrence. The whole audience stood. After a minute the lights went out and when they came on again the stage was empty. No curtain. No applause. No bows.

“We left the theatre in stunned silence. Twenty-five years on and it still stirs me deeply. The play was subsequently made into a film.”

Stephen Lawrence’s life and death continue to drive us to see change, but we still have a long way to go to eliminate racism both in society and in the church.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has said that the church is “deeply institutionally racist”. The government’s report “Ethnicity and the Criminal Justice System 2020” reported that 15% of the population is UKME/GMH but this population experiences 37% of all stop & search by the police.

An action you can take as a church is to sign up to the Racial Justice Covenant and make use of the Diocesan Anti-Racism Toolkit. These two resources will help you take a further step toward eliminating racism in your community.

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