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Marcia Wilson

Never Not East London

I was born in East London in a hospital that was about 2 miles away from University of East London’s Stratford Campus. My parents are from Jamaica and are part of the Windrush generation. They came to the UK in the late 50s and for most of their life in the UK they lived in east London. I grew up in the area and went to school in Canning Town.

I am the youngest of four. One of the things I remember fondly from my childhood is that big family feel. My mum was very close to her sister who lives in South London and occasionally on a Sunday, my cousins, aunties and uncles used to come over to our house. Our house was small but it was full of family and happy memories. Time seemed to go so much slower back then.

Now I blink on a Monday and before I know it, we are at Friday again. I guess it’s all about spending the time we have wisely.

At the very beginning of lockdown, I had Covid-19 symptoms. I was fatigued with a high temperature and a cough. Fortunately, it didn’t last long, and I made a full recovery. I’ve had to make sure that once I recovered from it, I didn’t get it again and social distancing has remained a priority for me.

I am a single mum to a 13-year-old daughter and at the start of lockdown she was doing homeschooling every day. It’s been a real challenge for children and young people. My daughter does athletics and often competes in championships (she holds a few records too). Not being able to train has taken its toll. But we’ve been able to spend quality time together; we’ve watched movies, had good conversations and have started a book club. Our last read was Michelle Obama’s Becoming which we’ve both enjoyed and spoken about at length.

It’s a different world in the States. I didn’t enjoy living there. After I finished my Undergraduate degree in North Wales, I moved to Houston and did my Master’s degree and PHD there. Once I graduated, I worked in Coca College in South Carolina. I’m all for learning about different cultures and living throughout the world but I found it overtly racist back in the 90s and early 2000s so I eventually moved back to the UK and returned to East London.

Dr Marcia Wilson is the Dean for Office for Institutional Equity at University of East London