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UK Gospel Artist Seth Pinnock reflects on the Stephen Lawrence story

The brutal murder of Stephen Lawrence, and subsequent obstruction of justice is a stain that may forever taint the history of the United Kingdom. On the twenty-eighth anniversary of his death, I caught up with UK Gospel artist and activist; Seth Pinnock, to get his thoughts on the Stephen Lawrence story and racism in the UK.

Akosua DF : Today marks 28 years since the brutal murder of Stephen Lawrence. How did his story impact you as a young black boy growing up in the UK.?

Seth Pinnock: I studied architecture at university and grew up wanting to be an architect just like Stephen Lawrence. I saw similarities between us. It’s incomprehensible to think that a black boy who wanted to become an architect had his life cut short by people who hated him; just because of the colour of his skin. To compound the pain of his murder even further, those who were supposed to support our journey to justice covered it all up and were intentionally deliberate, focused, and unified in covering that up. It just made you feel helpless. What do you do when those that are supposed to protect you seek to kill you? It made me feel that the UK wasn’t built with me in mind. Will I forever be a foreigner in this land? What does that then mean in terms of my responsibilities, my perceptions of power, my perspectives on monarchies and government; if this country isn’t for me?

Akosua DF: The government-commissioned review into racism concluded that the United Kingdom is not an institutionally racist country and cited achievements towards equality in the sectors of education and economy. Black ethnic groups however strongly disagreed with the outcome of the report . In your opinion what steps do the government need to take in order to make strides towards stamping out racism?

Seth Pinnock: Really good question. In relation to education and economy, there needs to be anti-racism education in schools. We need money for programmes, projects and initiatives, so that we can live in a more equitable world.

Akosua DF: What would you say to anyone who feels that Christians should focus on sharing the gospel & preaching Christ rather than get involved in activism.

Seth Pinnock: Preaching the gospel of Christ is through my activism. Jesus was an activist. He was a black life that mattered, and I cannot preach the gospel of Christ without being an activist. I’m reminded of the scripture Isaiah 61:1 - The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound. 

Written by Akosua DF, Premier Gospel Presenter 

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