Covid-19 makes promoting equality in architecture more urgent than ever

Sonia Watson

This Stephen Lawrence Day, the mission of the trust set up in the aspiring architect’s memory has never been more important – or more under threat

This year, Stephen Lawrence Day has new resonance amid the coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic has thrown inequality into sharper focus. It is not a “great leveller”, as some have claimed, but the opposite.

As a result, the work of Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into successful professional careers – supported so generously by many architects and the RIBA – has never been more important. Yet now is also the time we are most at risk of failing in this mission.

Today is the second Stephen Lawrence Day after the UK government inaugurated an annual national day last year to commemorate Stephen, a black 18-year-old aspiring architect who was murdered in an unprovoked racist attack in 1993. The day comes as evidence is growing that black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities and those on the lowest incomes are being affected disproportionately by the virus.

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