The Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon
|Chancellor of De Montfort University|
22 January 2016 – 31 January 2020
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 to the Order of the British Empire for "services to community relations" in 2003; Lawrence was created a Life Peer in 2013. She served as Chancellor of De Montfort University, Leicester from January 2016 to January 2020.
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.
In October 2019, Lawrence attracted criticism for her on-camera remarks concerning the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy made during an interview with Channel 4 News. She was quoted as saying: "Had that been a block full of white people in there, they would have done everything to get them out as fast as possible and make sure that they do what they needed to do". A public petition demanding an apology was raised. She later apologised for her remarks.
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 life peer on 6 September 2013, as 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. She served as Chancellor of De Montfort University in Leicester from 2016 to 2020.
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 ITV 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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- And Still I Rise: Seeking Justice for Stephen (the autobiography of Doreen Lawrence), Faber and Faber (15 June 2006).
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- Stop Hate UK official website.
- "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories | Politics". The Guardian. 7 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
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- Doreen Lawrence says Grenfell tragedy was linked to racism Channel 4 News, 17 October 2019. Retrieved 11 November 2019
- Stephen Lawrence's mother claims firefighters tackling Grenfell Tower blaze were 'racist' The Telegraph, 20 October 2019. Retrieved 11 November 2019
- FBU responds to Baroness Lawrence’s racism allegations on Channel 4 News www.fbu.org.uk, 18 October 2019. Retrieved 11 November 2019
- Peer resists calls to apologise for saying firefighters at Grenfell were ‘racist’ Metro, 24 October 2019. Retrieved 11 November 2019
- Baroness Lawrence Apologises After Claiming Race Played A Part In Grenfell Tower Inferno EuroWeekly News, 1 November 2019. Retrieved 11 November 2019
- Grenfell survivors fear inquiry judge will side with establishment The Guardian, 26 October 2019. Retrieved 11 November 2019
- Doreen Lawrence apology for 'any upset caused' over Grenfell Tower response after meeting with firefighters The Yorkshire Post, 29 October 2019. Retrieved 11 November 2019
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- "Baroness Doreen Lawrence's four-year tenure as Chancellor comes to an end". De Montfort University Leicester. 27 January 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
- Higgins, Charlotte (25 January 2010). "Chris Ofili: A journey from elephant art to mother nature's son". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
- "The Murder of Stephen Lawrence (1999)", IMDb.
- "Remembering Stephen Lawrence: Doreen Lawrence Unveils New Double Portrait at University of Greenwich" Archived 23 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine University of Greenwich press release, 15 May 2000.
- "Sons of Kemet | SHABAKA HUTCHINGS".