Get us in your inbox

London Eye lit Orange for Stephen Lawrence Day
Photograph: ShutterstockLondon Eye at night

The London Eye is turning orange for Stephen Lawrence Day

It’s marking the life and legacy of the Black London teenager, who was murdered in 1993

Written by
Annette Richardson

At sunset this evening (Friday April 22) the iconic London Eye on the South Bank will be lit up orange to mark Stephen Lawrence Day.
Since 2019, April 22 has been marked as his official commemorative date on the calendar. Created by the Stephen Lawrence Foundation in his name, we remember the 18-year-old Black teenager who was murdered on this day in 1993 in an unprovoked racist attack in Eltham, South-East London.

Stephen had huge plans for the future – to be an architect and improve his community, but those dreams were cut short by his murder, when he was set upon while waiting at a bus stop with a friend. At the time, five suspects were arrested but not convicted. In 1998, following years of lobbying from Stephen’s parents Doreen and Neville Lawrence, a public inquiry into the handling of Stephen’s case was held, leading to the publication of the Macpherson Report, a damning indictment not only of the police investigation and its mishandling but also the culture of institutional racism and incompetence at its heart.

Two of the original suspects were subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment for Stephen’s murder in 2011. This event and those subsequent inquiries that followed were to have a profound impact not only on criminal justice in Britain, but forged the way to significant cultural changes, in how seriously racism was viewed and dealt with in our society, and to law and policing. It also paved the way for a greater understanding of discrimination, and reforms in equality legislation.

Hand in hand with this was the work of the Stephen Lawrence Foundation which was founded by Stephen’s mother, Baroness Doreen Lawrence – who in 2013 was awarded a life peerage for her work in combating injustice and inequality. The Foundation has worked tirelessly to raise global awareness of racial inequality, to create a more equal, inclusive society, and offer opportunities for marginalised young people in the UK, something that seems more, not less, pressing in the wake of movements such as Black Lives Matter that tell us we still have a lot of work to do.

The aim of the day is to make it a celebration of Stephen’s life and legacy. It encourages us all to think about the role we play in creating a more equal society where everyone flourishes and which encourages young people to be inspired and think about what they can achieve in their own lives. The Foundation says:

‘We want them to get involved in creating the kind of community they want to live in and we want them to have a strong voice in building a fairer and more inclusive society.’

So tonight the orange lights will shine out as a visible reminder of Stephen, the lasting impact Stephen Lawrence and the Foundation have made on London and Londoners and as a beacon of hope for the future.

Discover the Stephen Lawrence Gallery.

A London park could be renamed in honour of Diane Abbott.

Popular on Time Out

    More on Black History Month

      Latest news