“My father is a big-time lawyer in Zimbabwe. All four of my siblings are lawyers too! They graduated from places like Cambridge and the Hague University in the Netherlands. There was no question, I knew I wanted to become a successful lawyer too. I was a great student and I had all the help from my family. Before leaving high school, my guidance counselor pulled me aside and advised me not to do law in Ireland. He said law in Ireland is family-owned and family-run. Also, you are black. There are no successful black lawyers in Ireland. I want to be honest with you, he said, if you go study law and you want to stay in Ireland, you will waste four years of your life. He said you might be waiting for an interview with four white men looking for the same position. I know it wasn’t to hurt me and I know he was just making me face reality. That conversation changed my path and I decided to do pharmaceutical science instead. This is just one example. There are so many other subtle incidents.
Not too long ago, as I was leaving work, I went to a taxi rank to head home. Before I could open the door of the first taxi, I heard it lock. I didn’t understand what just happened. It wasn’t at night. I wasn’t coming out of a club. Confused, I asked the driver: Why did you lock the door? This white man, in his 70’s, signaled me to take the taxi behind him. I was like why? He said I will not take you! Take the next one! I said you are the first taxi in a taxi rank, you have to take me! He is like No! Take the next taxi behind. I look to the next taxi and see a black guy looking at me. He gets out of his car and starts shouting at the taxi driver, calling him racist and starts taking his plate number. Then the white man just drives off. I am like what just happened? I face these incidents all the time. I am glad that people are now listening and standing up for us. It feels amazing when someone stands up for you! I don’t want this to become “Us versus Them” again. I want it to be all of us against racism. I don’t want people to walk on eggshells around us. I want them to treat me the same, but better. Just stand up for us. Don’t let racism pass by. That will mean everything to us.”