Students from Green Spring Academy Shoreditch were privileged to hear a thoughtful and thought-provoking talk from Dr Neville Lawrence, the father of Stephen Lawrence who was murdered in a racially motivated attack in London in 1993.
Dr Lawrence spoke to students at the school about why violence isn’t the answer, and also to support and encourage them to follow their dreams.
The ThinkForward coach at Green Spring, Adrian Binns, invited Dr Lawrence to the school. You couldn’t hear a pin drop in the packed assembly hall as students listened intently.
Dr Lawrence said: ‘Everyone has a dream, whether you want to be a pilot or a doctor. If you want to do something then the only person stopping you, is you. Don’t listen to people who tell you that you can’t do something.
‘My dream was that I was going to make sure that the people who killed my son would go to jail. I am one of those people who does not give up on anything. They took the life of a young, innocent person. I could not see why the colour of a person’s skin would make someone want to kill.’
In today’s social media world he also cautioned young people about fuelling disputes by filming and sharing arguments or fights, telling students: ‘Don’t take out your phone and film it and put it on social media. Be an example to your community. Be proud of yourselves, excel and make your family proud.’
After the talk, Dr Lawrence met with a group of ThinkForward students. He learned more about the programme and our work readiness capabilities and showed a keen interest in the aspirations and future of every young person round the table.
Dr Lawrence encouraged the students to ‘share kindness and positive messages’ on social media and counselled that ‘violence is never the answer’. He also told them: ‘Education is the key.’
After meeting Dr Lawrence, Lasharn, a Year 10 student who wants to become a police officer or fire fighter said: ‘I liked his message that violence is not a solution to problems, and to give back to the community. He is my hero.’
Kamel, also in Year 10 commented: ‘I have a lot of respect for him because he gives back and he inspires students.’
And fellow Year 10 student Ibrahim said: ‘I was very excited to meet him. He is an extreme role model, one in a million! He is an inspiration to me.’