The Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon
|Chancellor of De Montfort University|
|Assumed office |
22 January 2016
Andy Collop (Interim)
|Preceded by||The Lord Alli|
|Member of the House of Lords|
|Assumed office |
15 October 2013
Doreen Delceita Graham
24 October 1952
Colony of Jamaica
|Spouse(s)||Neville Lawrence (m. 1972; div 1999)|
|Children||Stephen Lawrence (1974–1993; murdered);|
The Hon. Stuart Lawrence (b. 1977);
The Hon. Georgina Lawrence (b. 1982)
|Alma mater||University of Greenwich|
|Occupation||Campaigner and parliamentarian|
Doreen Delceita Lawrence, Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, OBE (née Graham; born 24 October 1952) is a British Jamaican campaigner and the mother of Stephen Lawrence, a black 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. In January 2016, she was appointed to be Chancellor of De Montfort University, Leicester.
Early and personal life
Lawrence was born in Jamaica in 1952. 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, and Stuart was born in 1977. Georgina was born in 1982. The couple divorced in 1999.
Murder of Stephen Lawrence
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. In 1999, after years of campaigning, and with the support of many in the community, the media 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" and that this was one of the primary causes of their failure to solve the case.
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 for services to community relations.
She founded the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust to promote a positive community legacy in her son's name. Lawrence has been selected to sit on panels within the Home Office and the Police Service, and she is a member of both the board and the council of Liberty, the human rights organisation, as well as being a patron of hate crime charity Stop Hate UK.
On 27 July 2012, Lawrence took part in the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, holding the Olympic flag with seven others.
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; the honour is rare for being designated after a location in a Commonwealth realm outside the United Kingdom. She sits on the Labour benches in the House of Lords as a working peer.
She has been awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Cambridge, the Open University and the University of West London, and became Chancellor of De Montfort University in Leicester in 2016.
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 Stephen. It was part of Ofili's Turner Prize exhibition, and now hangs in the Tate Gallery.
In 1999, she was portrayed by actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste in the TV docudrama The Murder of Stephen Lawrence. In 2000, Doreen Lawrence was featured in a double portrait exhibited at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery in Greenwich, London.
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- "Sons of Kemet"