Stephen Lawrence remembered by council on the 26th anniversary of his murder
PUBLISHED: 17:45 18 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:45 18 April 2019
Residents and politicians have gathered to remember Stephen Lawrence on the 26th anniversary of his murder at Barking Town Hall.
Poems were read and recalled the raw pain and injustice of the event.
Leader of the council Darren Rodwell lead the ceremony.
“The most important thing to me is that we remember people that have passed.
“This borough knows about hate, we've experienced it first-hand politically, personally and emotionally. Only together can we change that.”
Mr Rodwell also noted that, while the Stephen Lawrence was not from the borough, the borough still deals with the problems that lead to his death.
He mentioned the once-prominent British National Party as an example of the things people needed to resist.
The BNP lost all their twelve council seats the in 2010.
Weininger Irwin, who is 56, was at the ceremony and works with a group that helps the elderly socialise and stay health with monthly 'Caribbean tea parties'.
“Stephen was taken away from us just because of a colour,” he said.
“We're all human beings. We all belong to the human race. We should start respecting people on their merits as opposed to what you see in front of you.
“Today is super significant in regard to us honouring Stephen's memory.”
He wants more young people to be given activities and opportunities for employment to help them away from violent crime. And hate crime needs constant awareness, said Mr Irwin, and a push to keep fighting it.
Ceremonial mayor and councillor Sanchia Alasia said that, while Stephen Lawrence's murder was a tragedy, it has not gone unlearned from.
Both the definition of institutional racism and heightened vigilance around hate crime have come from the attack.
But: “It also reminds us that we're still fighting racism today. Yes, a lot has been achieved, but there's a lot more to do.
“We still need to come together to work as a community to work with people from all different cultures and backgrounds to live together harmoniously.
And as a public servant, just as the police were held accountable after the investigation into the murder, she wants people to keep scrutinising public figures and servants.
“We need to be held accountable for the work that we are supposed to be doing.”