Songs in the key of life: A tribute to Stephen Lawrence

Before writing this, I listened to Stevie Wonder’s ‘Love’s in need of Love Today’ and the lyrics “don’t delay, send yours in right away’ seemed very apt; we need to continue to learn lessons from the tragic death of Stephen.

The Macpherson report highlighted practices that were inherently wrong with the way his murder was policed and, at the time, it was thought it would lead to huge reform in the way racist crimes were handled. Alas, I fear that the processes haven’t changed much in the 22 years since it was written.

I don’t, however, think that we can blame the police or social media or any other body that is controlled by only a handful of people. Frankly, I think the need to apportion blame has to stop because it takes the power out of our hands and gives it right back to those that wield it so badly. Change needs to happen throughout society; what’s the biggest fear for those that perpetrate and allow racism to thrive? Change.

In that respect, if every decent thinking human being spoke out when they felt or saw discriminatory and/or racist practices, those responsible could not feel secure in continuing to do so.

This is a call to action: we have to believe that good people outnumber the bad. To the teachers, parents and guardians, law makers, and to all those who know this hatred, if not reformed, will continue to undermine a truly safe and fair society: I propose that you listen to the afore mentioned song and bask in the knowledge that we do have the power to shape the world we live in – by our thoughts and our actions.

Let us use this young man’s tragic death to inspire future generations to be better. Remember this, people are not born haters, it is a learnt behaviour and as such it can be unlearnt and replaced with the true attributes of a strong and tolerant society: in the words of Stevie Wonder, “let’s give the world love.”

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