At the age of eleven, Lee witnessed his mother Dorothy ‘Cherry’ Groce unlawfully shot by police – an event which triggered the 1985 Brixton uprising. The shooting left Cherry with physical injuries and disabilities that eventually lead to her death in 2011. Lee, who had been his mother’s main carer, dedicated his time to pursuing justice. An inquest into his mother’s death began in 2014 but with application for legal aid being denied, Lee obtained over 133,000 signatures from the public to support the decision being overturned and legal aid being granted. Lee campaigned to obtain justice, successfully receiving a full public apology and accountability by the Metropolitan Police.
Since then, beyond the work of the Cherry Groce Foundation – a charity set up in his mother’s name which provides help and support for members of the community who have mobility issues - Lee has been working with organisations, institutions, educational establishments and communities, dedicating his time to pursuing justice through his work as an inspirational speaker, restorative justice ambassador, social change advocate and sharing his story in his award winning book ‘The Louder I will Sing’.
Towards the end of the book, Lee says,
“I have jobs that are meaningful and that I’m invested in. If you’d told that eleven-year-old boy back in 1985 where he’d be today, he wouldn’t have believed it. Life is about losing yourself, then finding yourself. For a while, I lost myself in the alter egos that I created. … Somehow, I’ve managed to go full circle. I’ve learned that I’m strongest when I am in tune to my authentic self.”
“Now I can engage properly with the police. I can sit on their advisory boards and look at how we can work to improve their practices. I’ve been able to begin my own healing process and, by learning to mediate and by training in restorative justice, I’m ready to try to inspire and encourage others.”
“If the police is a force, it should be a force for good. I want to help that happen.” “This is an area that I’m passionate about. If I can use my experiences to help improve policing, then it feels as though my own personal journey will have been worthwhile.”
Find out more:
Redefining justice by Lee Lawrence - TEDxLadbrokeGrove – Jan 2020