Social justice is a concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society. This is measured by the explicit and tacit terms for the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity and social privileges- alright, but what exactly does the dictionary definition mean? Social justice is all about equality. Think of it like this: social justice is ensuring people of all race, religion, genders, geographical location, social class, etc. receive the same equal opportunities and are not discriminated upon or refused resources or opportunities because of these factors. The word “justice” itself means fairness. Putting the two words together social and justice essentially means people deserve to be treated fairly.
While social justice is a large topic, there are many things falling into the category. For example these global issues are considered social justice issues: poverty, environmental rights, racism, gender inequality, deforestation, access to health care, access to clean water, animal rights, labor laws, modern day slavery, civil rights, access to education, and more.
As mentioned in the first paragraph fairness is social justice. What is powerful about this topic is how people gather together to support those who are enduring hardships brought on by social injustice (injustice meaning unfair treatment). There are people called “social justice advocates”. An advocate is “a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy” according to the dictionary. Being an advocate means you are the voice for someone who does not have one. While this could be quite literally someone is unable to speak, an advocate is like a personal cheerleader for those going through hardship. If you Google right now social justice advocates right now, I guarantee you will know at least one person who appears in the search result. What I like about social justice advocates, is anyone can become one. It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you were born, the level of education you have or occupation. One of the most popular advocates is Martin Luther King Jr. Others who are well known today include: Emma Watson, Reese Witherspoon, Sophia Bush, Barbra Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor, Leonardo DiCaprio and many more!
It can be daunting trying to make a difference and become involved in social justice. There are so many opportunities to help and causes to join. The good news is you can never go wrong choosing one because you will still make a difference. The best advice about social justice is to learn. Google the topics and see what stands out. From there, Google organizations near you and don’t be afraid to talk about it.
Over the next 4 weeks we are going to be exploring the topic further and talking about ways to make a difference. Pop back next Monday for a new article in the social justice series.