30 July 2014: Anthony Walker Remembered
Today marks the ninth anniversary of the death of Anthony Walker.
Described as ‘a young man of enormous talent’, 18 years old Anthony was the victim of an unprovoked racist attack by two youths who killed Anthony because of the colour of his skin.
A popular young man, Anthony was like any other teenager with a love for sports, music and the arts. He was studying law with his heart set on becoming a lawyer.
Sadly, Anthony’s dreams were never to be realised. One can only guess how his life may have unfolded over the years but for those that knew him there is a real sense and belief he was destined for greatness. Friends and schoolmates recall memories about his personality, his humility and compassion. People smile with fondness for an amiable teenager who clearly touched the hearts of those who knew him.
His mother, Gee, describes Anthony as a special young man. Gee wears a pendant with Anthony’s image around her neck at all times. It is this pendant she touches for inspiration when she needs it. Thousands have heard and been enthralled at Gee’s accounts of Anthony and how much he meant to her. She often smiles when talking about him but she also acknowledges how emotionally draining and exhausting it can be when recalling what happened to Anthony and why.
Gee’s experience, and that of Anthony’s sisters and brother, his friends is not an isolated one.
Anthony’s untimely death mirrored that of Stephen Lawrence who was also just 18 years of age when he was killed in a racist attack in 1993. Michael Causer was also 18 years old when he was killed in a homophobic attack. In 2007, Sophie Lancaster was 21 when she and her boyfriend were attacked by a group of teenagers because of their goth subculture. Sophie died 13 days after the attack.
These are just a few examples of individuals who lost their lives because of hatred. Regrettably hate crime continues to take place and we simply cannot say one type of hate crime is less serious than any others. Hate crime hurts the targeted individual. It also impacts upon family members, on friends, local and wider communities.
Gee’s determination not to let her son’s death be in vain is her own personal motivation that drives her forward enabling her to speak bravely about her loss. The same determination drives the work of the Anthony Walker Foundation. To that end, all involved with the Foundation have the same resolve, passion and commitment to challenge hate crime, discrimination and bullying.
We encourage everyone to share the hopes of Gee and her family, to reflect on the difference each one of us can make ensuring Anthony’s life is celebrated with positivity and the belief we can all make a difference.
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