As you may know, February 20 marks World Day of Social Justice. It’s a day that brings awareness to the injustices that occur throughout the world every day. Although we have come a long way, our world is still filled with prejudice, oppression, and inequity. Still, why is social justice something that we should all be passionate about?
When we think of social justice, the first things that come to mind tend to be events that happened in the past. We think of MLK leading the civil rights movement. We think of factory workers fighting for safe working environments and fair wages, and Susan B. Anthony leading the women’s suffrage movement. Although we learned about these events from history textbooks, these issues are still relevant today.
For instance, it wasn’t until 1920 that women had the right to vote in America. It wasn’t until 1935 that the USA established its first labor law. And it wasn’t until 1954 that it became illegal for US public schools to be segregated by race. When you think about the fact that many of your grandparents were alive to watch all of this happen, you realize it wasn’t really that long ago when it all took place. And these events are especially important on this day.
Generally speaking, social justice means equal distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society. To put it simply, everyone deserves to be treated fairly and equally in life.
Social justice is about breaking down barriers so that everyone has access to the same opportunities regardless of race, religion, economic background, or gender. Social justice is about compassion, fairness, and doing your part. With so many social issues happening around the world today, it is important to know that there are ways you can make a difference.
With today being World Day of Social Justice, it is the perfect opportunity to reflect on how social justice affects everyone. It’s the perfect day to reflect on the fact that there are people all over the world who don’t have access to food, shelter, education, healthcare, and basic freedoms. It’s only because of how far social justice has come in our society that we are able to live lives full of opportunities. But that isn’t enough. We have to do more. Whether you are a seasoned social justice warrior or haven’t thought much about how to become involved in social justice issues, you have the power to contribute to change nonetheless.
Here are five ways you can get involved!
1. Educate yourself on issues that are happening worldwide.
Social media is a great tool for staying up-to-date on current events. Make sure to follow reputable organizations, though so you know that the information you are getting is accurate. It’s 2020, we are over the #fakenews.
2. Contact your elected government officials concerning an issue that is important to you.
You can find out who your representative and senators are at United States House of Representatives and United States Senate websites. Once you know who they are, you can shoot them an email or schedule an appointment with one of their legislative aides!
3. Carefully choose where you spend your money.
When you shop, you as the consumer have the choice to support companies with the same values as you. Hence, you should choose not to support companies that fund hate groups, political campaigns, use sweatshop labor, or poison our environment. By supporting socially conscious companies that give back, you are empowering others.
4. Donate money to a cause you are passionate about.
Make sure to research them first though so you know what they stand for and how the money you donate will be spent. You can easily check their charity rating at the Charity Navigator website.
5. Just show up!
Attend a meeting or volunteer your time. Go online and find a local organization that supports a cause you are passionate about and get involved. Meetup.com is a great place to find local activist groups made up of like-minded individuals who are looking to make change happen.
I hope the message of World Day of Social Justice inspires you to be the change that we need in this world, not only today but every time you have the chance. In the words of Helen Keller, “Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained.”