We are celebrating this years’ Black History Month with the theme: From Struggle, To Growth, To Strength. The BME network presents a series of articles highlighting 5 Black British Icons from the past and present.
Doreen Delceita Lawrence, Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, OBE
Born in Jamacia, Baroness Doreen moved to London at 9 years old. In 1972 she married Nevile Lawrence and had three children: Stephen, Stuart and Georgina.
In 1993, her son, Stephen Lawrence was murdered in a racist attack whilst waiting at a bus stop. Although the Metropolitan Police investigated Stephen’s murder, many found that it was unprofessional with Baroness Doreen stating that racism played a role in the police investigation. Baroness Doreen campaigned for justice for years and in 1999 Jack Straw, the Home Secretary at the time, established a public judicial inquiry to investigate the circumstances regarding Stephen’s murder. The result of this inquiry was that the Metropolitan Police were found to be ‘institutionally racist’.
After this inquiry, Baroness Doreen continued to campaign and in 2003 she was awarded an OBE for services to community relations. Doreen set up the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust (now known as Blueprint for all) along with Neville Lawrence in 1998 to provide opportunities to young people including employment programmes.
Baroness Doreen also helped with the ban of the Double Jeopardy law which prevented suspects from being trailed for the same crime twice and lead to the arrest and jailing of two of the five suspects of her son’s murder in 2012.
In 2013 she was called to be a life peer in the House of Lords. In 2014 Baroness Lawrence was named as the Britain’s most influential woman in the Woman's Hour Power List 2014 Game Changers.
As of April 2020, she is the race relations advisor for the Labour Party.