Tesse Akpeki recently met Baroness Lawrence and was inspired by her mantra that anyone of us can make a difference.
Tears came to my eyes as I listened to Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon OBE at the Groundbreakers Summer reception. An inspiration and impassioned speaker, she shares her journey through life, her loss of her son, Stephen Lawrence and the ongoing work of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust.
The takeaway messages - the collective role to ensure fairness and equality, the place and importance of valuing everyone irrespective of race, age, gender or any other characteristics and the impact of focus, discipline and determination.
Doreen has never given up on her fight for justice, even if it means questioning unfair systems and practices. In doing so she has become an awesome campaigner. Her message is universal and her look of warmth and hope as she speaks about the next generation are gems for all of us.
She is an icon for dignity even in the face of challenge and difficulty. Baroness Lawrence parting encouragement is to get behind the stories of the young, offering support, constructive challenge and encouragement that create the conditions for them to succeed in life.
"Everyone has a role to play in making a difference' she says. It is a collective effort, not the work for one person".
She is truly awesome, calm and rooted but her mantra that anyone of us can make a difference is deeply motivating and extremely moving.
Befittingly she ends with the words of the late Maya Angelou. "Out of the huts of history's shame I arise. Up from a past that's rooted in pain I rise. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear.
"I arise. Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear I rise. I rise, I rise, I rise."