Everyday Steps Toward Social Justice


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The United Nations defines Social Justice as: “an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants. We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.”

We tend to believe that change happens primarily as a result of the actions of ‘great’ individuals, remembering names like Martin Luther King and Ghandi. This allows us to minimise the part that we, as ordinary individuals, can play to champion Social Justice and bring about social change.

It is important to remember that the way of the world is not God’s way. God’s purpose, throughout scripture, is achieved mainly through ordinary people of humble origins.

Mary’s Magnificat is a wonderful example:

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; 
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.”

There is no doubt that we, ordinary people, are called to Justice. Isaiah 1:17 states it clearly, “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” 

Everything we do matters, however small or insignificant it may seem. The ordinary work we do for the glory of God is important to God’s ultimate plan and the work of Justice begins with you and me.

Sometimes it can feel overwhelming, there is so much injustice in the world, but we can start where we are, with what we have. We’ve put together some suggestions below:

Be Aware

Inform yourself on the basic facts around one issue that is of concern to you.
Take notice of what’s happening around you and identify the issues of Social Justice in your community.

Listen

Practise attentive listening, especially in relation to those in pain. Listening with attention to another is both a form of hospitality and a walking in someone else’s shoes. It is the beginning of understanding and compassion, and understanding and compassion can be a bridge to change.

Communicate

Spread empowering information through whatever communication channels you have at your disposal, including conversations with friends, family, colleagues and messages via social media and email.

Become Involved in Your Community

Social Justice cannot happen in a vacuum. Get to know your neighbours. Change often begins at a hyper-local level. Once you are a part of the conversations within your community, you have a platform to work from.

Practise Hospitality

Hospitality is a fundamental Christian virtue. Be hospitable toward the lonely, hurt or rejected in your community.

Volunteer

Undertake volunteer work with a charity, justice group or neighbourhood agency. There are many local organisations that are doing amazing work, and they are stretched in terms of resources and manpower. Lend a hand. Volunteering is an empowering experence and a wonderful way to be involved in issues of social justice on a very personal level.

Support Local organisations

There are a multitude of groups that fight for equality and basic human rights for all. Find the ones whose messages resonate most with you and find out how you can support their events and campaigns.

Write letters

Write a letter to someone in public life who acts or speaks on justice issues in a manner consistent with your beliefs. Obtain comments from family members, neighbours and people in your community and incorporate them into the letter prior to sending it.

Write a monthly letter or email to your local representatives on issues that are important to you encouraging them to take action to support specific legislative initiatives, or give your opinion and advice on what you think they should focus on.

Respond to articles in the local newspapers on issues relating to social justice by writing letters to the editor highlighting any justice issues that arise.

Consider Your Lifestyle

Begin to consider the possibility of a simpler lifestyle in relation to energy consumption, type and quality of goods purchased, type and quantity of food consumed and participate in recycling programmes in your area.

Pray for Justice

You can do this on your own as well as with your family, friends, neighbours and community. Never underestimate the power of prayer.

 

Michelle Robertson
Communications Officer
20 February 2019