Socialist Worker

Stephen Lawrence murder: How unions played a role in fighting for justice

Issue No. 2285

Within days of Stephen’s murder, people were out on the streets leafleting and petitioning. There were two demonstrations in the next ten days through Eltham.

There was a feeling of mass revulsion about what had happened. The trade unions were an important part of the campaign from the start. Neville Lawrence spoke at the TUC in September of the year Stephen was murdered.

He recalled later, “I thought that they would not have the time to listen to what I had to say but I was wrong. When I came up on the stage you could hear a penny drop.”

Neville and Doreen were invited to and spoke at many TUC and local trade union meetings through the years, winning important financial support for the campaign.

Speaking at the TUC in 1998 to a standing ovation, Neville explained how he turned to the unions for support.

“I thought, ‘Who am I going to turn to? I did not have the money. Where will I get support?’ and I remember meeting a group of trade unionists who said ‘we are going to help’.”

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