Senior School students at Eltham College attended a thought-provoking talk given by the Rt Hon. Stuart Lawrence about the impact of his brother Stephen’s death, his legacy and his own motivational work with young people.
Stuart Lawrence, former secondary school teacher, mentor and younger brother of Stephen Lawrence – who was murdered in a racist attack in Eltham in 1993 at the age of 19 – spoke movingly to pupils about the day his life changed forever.
At the start of his talk, Stuart shared words from Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” He spoke about making the most of every opportunity and the importance of students becoming the best versions of themselves. He urged pupils not to get caught up in mobile phones, gaming and social media, but to take time to read, work hard and to reap the benefits.
He also shared his feelings of loss at his brother’s death by asking pupils to visualise a person or moment that gives them happiness and then asked them to imagine how they’d feel if that was taken away. He spoke about the importance of being respectful to others, treating people as you’d like to be treated – his mother’s ‘golden rule of life.’
Stuart also touched on recent events impacting the lives of black people following the death of George Floyd in the USA and the lasting impression made on him from meeting Nelson Mandela at the age of 16: “He sacrificed 27 years of his life for the people of South Africa and was an amazing man who spoke with grace and acted with dignity.”
Students were touched and visibly moved by Stuart’s talk. It prompted many questions and started conversations amongst the students about what they can do to challenge racism and make change.
Stuart’s hope is that his talks will make a difference to the way people think and act – and to ensure Stephen’s legacy remains in the public eye. His charity, Blueprint for All (formerly The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust), provides bursaries to students from disadvantaged backgrounds to allow them to pursue the career of their choice, including opportunities to study architecture at university (Stephen’s career choice) along with mentorship schemes which provide a fitting testament to his memory. To date, over 250 students have been helped into architectural courses and the hope is to continue to help many young people all over England.
Stuart’s motivational book Silence Is Not An Option is now published and aimed at helping children and young people make the best decisions they possibly can. The book can be bought here