I will begin this article with the disclaimer that it is only meant to raise awareness and inspire the reader to be willing to look at the issues. I do not claim to have all the answers, know what is needed in every situation, or have the personal experience of dealing with each facet involved.
Everywhere you turn in today’s society, you find discussions on events, practices, and political debates that include the use of the words “social injustice.” It is easy to point at what is wrong when you see how the end results affect you and others within your life circles. We find it easy to point a finger at outside influences, circumstances, and hierarchical decision making. It only takes elementary-school fundamentals to identify the symptoms of hunger, poverty, prejudice, and other social ills.
The difficulty comes when you try to explain what “social justice” looks like. Social justice must exhibit inclusiveness for all people. There must be equality, regardless of socioeconomic status. We must have equal access for those who have limited mental capabilities, physical limitations, or learning disparities. It is the idealistic society that many believe has already arrived. My endeavors in the community through the Ark Association prove differently. The systems pro quo are full of loopholes, red tape, rules, qualifications, stipulations, and requirements that set the stage for failure. What we must find are solutions to begin to change the axis of negative opinionating and move to positive momentum.
We need to come together and do more than just talk. This is going to require willingness, unity, and action. We will need to look at systemic elements woven into every thread of our fabric of life. All of these components are pieces of the bigger puzzle: judicial, political, governmental, corporate, generational, socialistic, economic, bureaucratic, educational, and familial.
The most important change agent is you! Take a moment to do a quick inventory of your active participation. Are you willing to respect and listen to someone whose ideas, culture, or passions differ from yours? Do you exercise your right to vote? Do you inform yourself on the issues from both sides of the equation? Are you actively involved in the discussion going on within your community? Have you written a letter to your political representatives to share your concerns? What about the amount of time you take to make a positive difference in the life of someone else? Do you use social media to indulge in self or raise awareness through the items you post about? Can you accept trying something different than the way it has always been done?
Obviously, this is a vast playing field with many positions. Take the time to think about what area holds your greatest passion. Discover what you can do in that area to be a positive influence. Join a group of individuals who are working towards improving equality for all. Be realistic about how much time you can spend. Dare to step out of your comfort zone. This may require lots of work but the personal rewards will far exceed the investment.