Doreen Lawrence, Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon

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The Baroness Lawrence
of Clarendon

OBE
Member of the House of Lords
In office
15 October 2013 – for Life
Personal details
Born Doreen Delceita Graham
(1952-10-24) 24 October 1952 (age 61)
Jamaica
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Neville Lawrence (m. 1972; div 1999)
Children Stephen Lawrence (1974–1993; murdered)
Stuart Lawrence (1977-)
Occupation Writer and parliamentarian
from the BBC programme Desert Island Discs, 10 June 2012[1]

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Doreen Delceita Lawrence, Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, OBE (née Graham; born 24 October 1952) is a British Jamaican campaigner famous as the mother of Stephen Lawrence, a British teenager who was murdered in a racist attack in South East London in 1993. She promoted reforms of the police service, and founded the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. She was appointed OBE for "services to community relations" in 2003, and was created a Life Peer in 2013.

Early and personal life[edit]

Lawrence was born in Jamaica in 1952.[2] At the age of nine, she emigrated to England. She completed her education in south-east London, before becoming a bank worker. In 1972, she married Neville Lawrence; their son Stephen was born in 1974, Stuart was born in 1977.[3] The couple divorced in 1999.[4]

Murder of Stephen Lawrence[edit]

Following the murder of their son Stephen in 1993, Doreen and Neville Lawrence claimed that the Metropolitan Police investigation was not being conducted in a professional manner, citing incompetence and racism as prime flaws.[5] In 1999, after years of campaigning, and with the support of many in the community, the media[6] and politics, a wide-ranging judicial inquiry was established by Jack Straw, the Home Secretary. Chaired by Sir William MacPherson, the inquiry was to investigate the circumstances of Stephen Lawrence's death. The public inquiry was the subject of intense media interest which became international when it concluded that the Metropolitan Police was "institutionally racist"[7] and that this was one of the primary causes of their failure to solve the case.

Public life[edit]

In the aftermath of the inquiry, Lawrence continued to campaign for justice for her son as well as for other victims of racist crime. She has worked to secure further reforms of the police service. In 2003 she was awarded the OBE[8][9] for services to community relations.

She founded the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust[10] to promote a positive community legacy in her son's name. Lawrence has been selected to sit on panels within the Home Office[11] and the Police Service, and she is a member of both the board and the council of Liberty,[12] the human rights organisation, as well as being a patron of hate crime charity Stop Hate UK.[13]

Recognition[edit]

On 27 July 2012, Lawrence took part in the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, holding the Olympic flag with Ban Ki Moon, Shami Chakrabarti and others.

In October 2012, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 14th Pride of Britain Awards.[14]

In April 2014, she was named as Britain's most influential woman in the BBC Woman's Hour power list 2014.[15]

Lawrence was elevated to the peerage as a Baroness, on 6 September 2013, and is formally styled Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, of Clarendon in the Commonwealth Realm of Jamaica;[16] the honour is rare for being named after a location in a Commonwealth realm outside the United Kingdom.[17] She sits on the Labour benches in the House of Lords as a working peer.[18]

Popular culture[edit]

Chris Ofili's 1998 painting No Woman No Cry is a portrait of Doreen Lawrence crying; in each tear is an image of her son. It was part of Ofili's Turner Prize exhibition, and now hangs in the Tate Gallery.[19]

In 1999, she was portrayed by actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste in the TV docudrama The Murder of Stephen Lawrence.[20] In 2000, Doreen Lawrence was featured in a double portrait exhibited at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery in Greenwich, London.[21]

Lawrence was the guest subject on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs on 10 June 2012.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Doreen Lawrence". Desert Island Discs. 10 June 2012. BBC Radio 4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01jqb8t. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
  2. ^ And Still I Rise: Seeking Justice for Stephen (the autobiography of Doreen Lawrence), Faber and Faber (15 June 2006).
  3. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jan/09/stephen-lawrence-brother-racism-police
  4. ^ "Lawrence parents divorce", BBC Online, 9 July 1999.
  5. ^ "Lawrence mother calls police 'racist'". BBC News. 11 June 1998. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  6. ^ Warren Hoge, "Racial Killing Bursts a British Press Taboo", New York Times, 18 February 1997.
  7. ^ "The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry". Archive.official-documents.co.uk. 24 February 1999. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  8. ^ "Fighting on: Neville and Doreen Lawrence". BBC News. 31 December 2002. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  9. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56797. p. 11. 31 December 2002.
  10. ^ "Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust – Registered Charity Number: 1102267". Charitiesdirect.com. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  11. ^ "Police: Stop and Search — Question". Theyworkforyou.com. 6 May 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  12. ^ Wintour, Patrick (31 July 2013). "Doreen Lawrence to be made a Labour peer". The Guardian. 
  13. ^ Stop Hate UK official website.
  14. ^ "Doreen Lawrence honoured". ITV News. 30 October 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  15. ^ "Woman's Hour Power List 2014 – Game Changers". BBC Radio 4. 
  16. ^ The London Gazette: no. 60624. p. 17949. 11 September 2013.
  17. ^ Siva, Vivienne (25 October 2013). "Jamaican Born Civil Rights Campaigner Appointed to British House of Lords". Jamaican Information Service. 
  18. ^ "Working peerages announced", Gov.uk
  19. ^ Charlotte Higgins (25 January 2010). "Chris Ofili: A journey from elephant art to mother nature's son". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  20. ^ "The Murder of Stephen Lawrence (1999)", IMDb.
  21. ^ "Remembering Stephen Lawrence: Doreen Lawrence Unveils New Double Portrait at University of Greenwich", Greenwich University press release, 15 May 2000.
  22. ^ "Doreen Lawrence". Desert Island Discs. BBC Radio 4. 10 June 2012. 

External links[edit]