1. Why are you passionate about ethnic diversity?
Growing up in a diverse household demonstrated to me first-hand that diversity can be a source of creativity rather than division. I have long believed that the road to progress is signposted by the sharing of our diverse heritages, ideas and perspectives. Such synergy has existed throughout humanity's history, but at times has been forgotten, hidden away or lost in bloody conflict. My passions lie in uncovering such synergy and sharing it with the world.
2. As a lawyer, how do you plan to make a difference in this area?
In his book, Great Jamaican Advocates, Raphael Codlin states that advocates should not confine themselves to their legal functions but should "apply their knowledge and influence towards the greater good of mankind". Today we see a disproportionate amount of Black and Asian men in our criminal justice and mental health systems, who have their own complaints. This situation makes me uncomfortable but also motivates me. As both a lawyer and citizen I will endeavour to fearlessly fight to ensure fairness in our justice system.
3. What do the UK born students of today think about cultural difference and identity?
I have the benefit of listening to my students' views on this topic for the last three years. Certainly, the world is changing rapidly through greater communication and transportation technologies. The role of culture is adapting to these advances. I think students today still value their cultural heritages but are highly skilful in managing the varying expectations that fall on their shoulders. There also appears to be a greater space, these days, for exploring the many dimensions of one's identity and for forging new identities.
4. How can the legal profession embrace diversity positively?
Admitting that there are issues has been a massive positive step forward. Consequently, there is a lot being done already to embrace diversity, such as the newly created Diversity Training Toolkit produced by the Bar Council Equality and Diversity Committee. What is important, however, is that such initiatives are taken seriously and deployed diligently. Diversity needs to be more than a set of policy directions or a lacklustre declaration on a law firm/chambers' website; it needs to be a positive and active commitment to change for the better.
Article added on 4th January 2010 at 9:38am