Hate crime, tolerance and legacy of Stephen Lawrence discussed at Lincoln event
Robust discussions about hate crime, the murder of Stephen Lawrence and thought-provoking dramatic performances were among the key themes at the Truth in Justice event, on Wednesday 8 May.
Held at The Lawn, Lincoln, pupils from four secondary schools – De Aston School (Market Rasen), Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School (Horncastle), The Priory LSST and Priory Ruskin Academy (Grantham) were encouraged to discuss the circumstances, impact and effects of Stephen Lawrence’s killing, in 1993.
Pupils from De Aston School also performed dramatic scenes which covered hate crime, bullying and identity, answering questions from other pupils while remaining in character.
Facilitators from Just Lincolnshire, the CPS, Lincolnshire Police, Stop Hate UK and Victim Support sat at individual tables while engaging conversations produced several perceptive questions about the main themes of the event.
The event was supported by Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Marc Jones.
He said: “It is fantastic to see young people make their voices heard about challenging prejudice and learning about how they play a part in creating a society that treats everyone with fairness and respect.”
Truth in Justice was held as part of the first Stephen Lawrence Day, which was announced by Prime Minister Theresa May last year.
Chelsea Way, Programmes Manager at the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, also attended the event.
She said: “This is an amazing example of how communities, young people and the police can come together to re-enact positive social change so that the lessons learnt from Stephen’s murder continue to inspire young people.”
Just Lincolnshire organised the event. Its General Manager, Wes Shelbourne, said he thought it was informative and inspirational.
“It was pleasing to see so many people from different backgrounds in the same room passionately exploring issues surrounding stigma, discrimination and hate crime,” he said.
“The commitment to a fairer, more inclusive society was clear for all to see.”
Chief Inspector Steve Williamson, Lincolnshire Police Force Lead for Hate Crime, said: “I have been genuinely impressed with the questions that the pupils have been asking. The younger generation definitely have a handle on what hate crime is and can definitely make it a thing of the past.”
Janine Smith, Chief Crown Prosecutor at CPS East Midlands said: “The tragic story of Stephen Lawrence should remind us all of the devastating impact of hate crime.
“They impact on individuals, those close to them and the wider community.
“I hope that as a result of this event, people will understand more about how hate crime doesn’t just impact on the victim it affects us all.”
Kerry Greenwood, Head of Drama at De Aston School, said: “We were honoured to provide actors for such an important and powerful event, but even more impressed with the contributions of all the young people who discussed the issues raised with the adult professionals with such enthusiasm and insight.”
Deputy Chief Constable Craig Naylor, Force Lead for Equality and Diversity at Lincolnshire Police, said: “It is valuable for us all to have important discussions about challenging hate crime, and for the public to have confidence in reporting incidents to us.
“We are clear that hate crime is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Assistant Chief Constable Kerrin Wilson also attended the event.