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Race equality campaigner Doreen Lawrence said she wants to use her House of Lords peerage to "give a voice to ordinary people".
The mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence also admitted she was "nervous" about her new role as a Labour peer.
Doreen Lawrence has changed attitudes and policing in the UK, Labour leader Ed Milband said today after it was announced that she would be made a Labour peer.
Mr Miliband said: "Over the past 20 years, Doreen Lawrence has had a profound impact on Britain and I am delighted that she will become a Labour member of the House of Lords.
"Since the horrific racist murder of her son, Doreen has shown incredible strength and courage as she sought, and continues to seek, justice for Stephen.
"She has changed attitudes to policing and racism in this country and I have no doubt that her strength and determination will be a huge asset to the House of Lords in the coming years."
Labour has hailed the mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence as an "extraordinary voice" after she was named a Labour peer, Downing Street revealed today.
JCB boss Sir Anthony Bamford has been made a Tory peer, Doreen Lawrence a Labour peer, and Ministry of Sound mogul James Palumbo a Liberal Democrat peer in a list published by Downing Street today.
The ranks of the House of Lords are due to be swollen with the publication of a new list of working peers, including Doreen Lawrence, the mother of murdered London teenager Stephen.
Mrs Lawrence's seat in the Upper House as a Labour baroness comes after a 20 year fight for justice for her son, who was stabbed to death at the age of 18 in a racist attack in south London.
Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said:
"Doreen Lawrence is a role model and a friend - heartfelt congratulations to her on her richly-deserved appointment to the House of Lords.
"Who can imagine transforming the grief of losing a child into a campaign to reform policing and the wider values of an entire nation? Her calm courage should be an inspiration to everyone."
A Labour source said: "Doreen Lawrence is a hero of modern Britain. The strength and courage she has shown in her fight for justice for her son Stephen has had a profound impact on attitudes to racism and policing.
Her campaigning has changed, and will continue to change, our country for the better.
"Ed Miliband believes voices like hers should always be heard in Parliament."
Doreen Lawrence is to get a seat in the House of Lords in a new peerages list expected to be published tomorrow.
Mrs Lawrence has tirelessly campaigned for justice since the racist murder of her son Stephen, 20 years ago.
She founded the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust to support young people from ethnic minority backgrounds to pursue their ambitions, and has been chosen to sit on Home Office and police panels.
It's thought she will sit on the Labour benches as a working peer and will be expected to regularly attend the Lords.
It is understood that she was persuaded to accept a seat in the Lords by Labour's shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan.
The Labour Party declined to confirm or deny the appointment when approached today.