This week on Nobody Told Me… we are joined by Alexandra Wilson who talks about the lack of diversity within the justice system and how this encouraged her career ambitions.
Alexandra Wilson is a barrister and the author of In Black and White, a memoir forcing the legal profession to confront uncomfortable truths about race and class in our justice system.
Wilson is highly celebrated within her career, especially on social media where she’s gained thousands of followers. She tweeted in January last year: “In just 3 months I’ll be defending and prosecuting in the Courts of England and Wales. I’m 24. I’m mixed-race. I’m from Essex. I’m not posh. I worked hard and NEVER listened when people said the Bar wasn’t for people like me. THIS is what a barrister looks like.” That message alone has 71,000 likes. But, as she points out, Wilson worked hard to achieve the success she has today, and often against the odds – something she discusses in this week’s episode of Nobody Told Me.
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When her close friend was murdered aged just 17 in a tragic case of mistaken identity, a combination of grief and a desire for change inspired her to pursue a career in law. From childhood aspirations of becoming the prime minister to getting accepted at Oxford University, she was never dissuaded by society’s expectations of what she could achieve despite her determination being tested.
Throughout her studies she was frequently confronted with the lack of diversity among both her classmates and those teaching. Another barrier was the financial hurdles that deter those from less privileged backgrounds completing the required legal training, such as a rule preventing students at Oxford from working during term time.
When conducting research for her dissertation in the US, Alexandra investigated how police brutality affected young children. “Unsurprisingly, I found that young black kids were a lot less likely to call the police in dangerous situations” she says, before explaining how she was driven to implement change from the inside once she started to see parallels within UK policing.
In the podcast, Alexandra considers how under representation within the judicial system impacts society and the challenges she has faced in her career. Listen to episode three now: Nobody Told Me… My Friend’s Murder Would Lead Me To A Career Fighting For Justice with Alexandra Wilson. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Acast. Don’t forget to subscribe for a new episode every week.
Images: Stylist and Laurie Lewis