My brother Stephen Lawrence's murder changed British attitudes towards racism – but we can still do more

LIKE my brother Stephen’s murder in 1993, the horrific killing of George Floyd marked a turning point.

In the wake of his death, we saw the Black Lives Matter marches and an opening up of a conversation, mainly among young, white people, who couldn’t believe this sort of racist brutality could happen.


Suddenly, we weren’t talking about the very overt racism — the Alf Garnett character or the Black And White Minstrels — but how racism is more nuanced than that.

We still haven’t heard from Derek Chauvin, the officer found guilty of George’s murder.

I feel we deserve an explanation as to why he knelt on George’s neck for nine minutes, even though he was handcuffed and unable to flee.

George Floyd’s death happened in America, but a month afterwards, a white officer appeared to kneel on the neck of a suspect here in the UK.


That officer was suspended and the Deputy Met Police commissioner Sir Steve House said the footage was “extremely disturbing”.

I am in the process of launching a Diversity Toolkit programme with the police.

If you are a police officer who suddenly finds yourself transferred from somewhere like Northampton to a place like Tottenham, north London, it is important that you are aware of the different culture groups and other sensitive issues in the area.

For example, the history of clashes after Mark Duggan was shot by police.

This will give you a better understanding of the community you are working in and enable you to better serve the people of that community.

My hope is there is a greater awareness now and that might mean we start to take notice more and hold people accountable more.

We’re in a great position now we’ve decided to be a stand-alone country, so let’s reinvent ourselves as an example of an anti-racist country.

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