At the age of 23, Jessika Inaba has achieved a groundbreaking milestone by becoming the first black and blind individual to qualify as a lawyer in the United Kingdom.
Hailing from Camden, North London, Jessika Inaba has made history as the first black and blind barrister in the UK. Her journey began when she successfully completed a rigorous five-year Law degree at the University of London, utilizing Braille—a tactile writing system—and receiving invaluable support from friends and tutors.
Commencing her accelerated law degree in September 2017, she later pursued a master’s degree alongside a professional training course. After completing her studies, Jessika Inaba was promptly called to the United Kingdom Bar, earning her place among the limited number of blind and black women who have become qualified barristers in the country.
Jessika has been blind since birth due to a condition known as Bilateral Microphthalmia, which results in smaller-than-average eyes. Despite facing challenges, she held onto her determination and belief in herself, proving that her dreams were attainable.
“I always believed in myself from the start; there’s nothing about me which means this isn’t possible,” Jessika affirmed. “I know I can do this job really well, and the more people like me who go through training, the easier it will become,” she added.
During her academic journey, she encountered instances of racial bias, notably when prison officials repeatedly mistook her for a visiting relative rather than recognizing her as a lawyer arriving to interview a client.
Jessika shared that the journey had its share of challenges, and she faced racial biases during her studies, recalling instances where prison officials mistook her for a relative rather than recognizing her as a lawyer coming to interview a client.
Overwhelmed by her achievement, Jessika expressed that she still struggles to fully comprehend her accomplishment. The path was undoubtedly arduous, and thoughts of giving up crossed her mind, but with unwavering support from her family, she maintained her determination.
“I always believed in myself from the start; there’s nothing about me that makes this impossible. I know I can excel in this profession, and the more individuals like me who undergo training, the smoother the journey will become,” she affirmed.
Elated by her achievement, Jessika finds happiness in the knowledge that her success can inspire others with similar conditions. She said, “It’s an incredibly gratifying feeling; I understand that I’m instilling hope in others facing circumstances like mine. I’m breaking a triple-glazed glass ceiling. I don’t fit the conventional mold in terms of gender or ethnicity, and I possess a disability. By persisting, I’m lightening the load for the next person in a similar situation.”