One of the Executive’s many tasks this year has been to replace Baroness, Professor Ruth Lister as President given that her term has, very sadly for us, come to an end. It was a daunting prospect to replace Ruth given the amazing contribution she has made to the SPA. But we are delighted now to welcome Baroness Doreen Lawrence of Clarendon as our next President. As members will no doubt know, Baroness Lawrence has campaigned for police reform and racial justice since the murder of her son, Stephen, at the age of 18 in 1993 in an unprovoked racist attack. The subsequent police handling of the murder was then found to be institutionally racist by the Macpherson Report, which was produced following a campaign led by Doreen Lawrence. In 2013, she was invited to become a Life Peer in the House of Lords and she continues to work, as Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, OBE, to highlight issues of racism, particularly in relation to policing. She has also supported higher education, serving as Chancellor of De Montfort University, Leicester, from 2016 to 2020. And she was the founder of The Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation which works ‘to inspire children to dream freely without barriers and to realise the absolute importance of education to attaining those dreams, to support and create new connections within all types of communities and to give marginalised young people access to careers in the world’s leading companies and organisation’.
The Social Policy Association has been working hard to ensure that issues relating to ‘race’ and ethnicity have a higher profile within Social Policy in the UK, and internationally. We are delighted that Baroness Lawrence is willing to serve as SPA President, and very much look forward to working with her in the future.