Nottinghamshire Police force will tomorrow still take part in the second ever national day of commemoration for murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence despite the Coronavirus situation.
The 18-year-old was stabbed to death in a racially motivated attack in Eltham, south London, in 1993.
His death prompted wide-spread outcry and ultimately held to sweeping changes in the way police forces across the country, but in particular in London, deal with such crimes.
To mark the 25th anniversary of the day he died, which was April 22, a special day of remembrance was set up in his name two years ago. This was to ensure that his life and death would never be forgotten.
Last year to mark this day Nottinghamshire Police force held a celebration of his life where hundreds of people attended a community event in Bulwell. The most impactful legacy of this was the setting up of the Lyrico Steede Cadet base, which was in memory of a local murdered teenager to inspire young people.
This year, due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the force will still be commemorating the day, but in a more subdued way by asking the local Nottinghamshire community to take part virtually.
Superintendent Suk Verma said: “Obviously this year’s planned event won’t go ahead as we are in the midst of the Covid-19 virus, but we are working alongside the National Black Police Association to promote how people can celebrate his life online. We invite the whole of the Nottinghamshire community to get involved.
“We are asking people to share cards on social media as part of a national campaign to tell people what a difference Stephen’s story has made to their lives. Or other ways to get involved include asking children to paint a picture of Stephen to upload to social media.
“We are also promoting hashtags to share via virtual message cards. Keep an eye on our social media pages to see the best entries which we will post. And finally we are asking people to share the two minute ‘Because of Stephen’, film which was produced by the Stephen Lawrence Foundation.
“This year, the message is clear: We all have the power to make a difference. Let’s make Stephen Lawrence Day full of small, positive actions that can make a difference.”
He added the force continues to do a significant amount of work in the community engaging with young people, despite the current lockdown situation.
This includes the force Cadets, who are young men and women who volunteer their time to learn about modern day policing and take part in community-focused initiatives, including volunteering work with the public at this critical time.
The Volunteer Police Cadets (VPC) is the nationally recognised police uniformed youth group throughout the UK. The purpose of the VPC is not to recruit police officers of the future, but to encourage the spirit of adventure and good citizenship amongst its members. The VPC believe that every young person deserves the opportunity to thrive regardless of his or her background, and encourage young people from all backgrounds to join the VPC, including those who may be vulnerable to the influences of crime and social exclusion.
Nottinghamshire Police’s Volunteer Police Cadets Engagement Officer Romel Davis added: “We are disappointed that we cannot build on the success of the event last year with another one but we will be planning another event to commemorate Stephen Lawrence day in the future.
“Please get involved with the various activities on the Stephen Lawrence Community Trust website including the #BecauseOfStephen Message cards. The whole point of the day is to commemorate Stephen, however the work of the trust and ourselves happens all year round in terms of supporting young people to make positive choices and live their best lives.”
How you can get involved this year:
Virtual gallery –Reach as many people as possible with positive messages about Stephen Lawrence Day by telling the world what a difference Stephen’s story has made to you. Take a photo of yourself holding one of the #BecauseOfStephen cards (pictured) and share on social media accounts. Choose from existing messages or write a personalised message, or simply write a personal message using pen and paper. Please don’t forget to use the #BecauseOfStephen hashtag.
#BecauseOfStephen Message cards – Please click here to access your own Stephen card and write your own message or take a picture with the cards.
Because of Stephen’ film. Please share the two minute video. Please view it here: