How to promote social justice every day
It’s easy to shake your head in dismay, and complain about all that’s wrong with the world. But as Gandhi reminded us in words and actions, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Not happy with police brutality? Worried about the acts of terrorism across the globe? Concerned about the seemingly unstoppable refugee crisis? Well now is the time to stand united and practice social justice – for a better future for all.
As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon put it: “As we seek to build the world we want, let us intensify our efforts to achieve a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable development path built on dialogue, transparency and social justice.”
We all know social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence. But while we can agree with this, many of us are at a loss when it comes to acting on or upholding the principles of social justice in our everyday lives.
So, in answer to this dilemma, we have compiled a list of 10 ways that we can put our words into actions and advance social justice every day.
1. Spread the word
Become active in spreading empowering information, whether it is through word of mouth to friends and family, via your online networking and emails, or just by having a conversation with colleagues at work.
Sometimes getting the conversation started is enough to spur others to join in too. Always lead by example!
2. Listen more
Before you head out the door with that megaphone to spread your message, remember to always be courteous and open to hearing what others think and feel.
While you may not agree on everything, debating issues you feel strongly about in a calm and non-aggressive fashion could be eye opening and validating for both them and you.
3. Attend a rally
If history has taught us anything, it’s that there is power in numbers. It’s all well and good to post information about an event or demonstration that is part of the cause that you feel strongly about, but if you can put that into action, then you’re no better than those who choose to stay silent.
Remember – if you’re not part of the solution – you’re part of the problem. (Harsh words, you might feel – but true also.)
4. Reclaim your community
It’s vital to get know your neighbours and those around you as you cannot promote social justice on a broader level without a sense of community. You could find you have similar gripes or hesitations about things going on in your neighbourhood and be able to mobilise for change.
It’s also important to help those who may be struggling around you first before you seek to help others outside your community.
Your local shelters need you. Sparing some time to help others in need will help organisations struggling to respond to the demand for help – not to mention, give you a new appreciation for all that you have and continue to empower you to do more.
Don’t underestimate the power of volunteering – it’s food for the soul.
6. Support local organisations
There are a multitude of groups that fight for equality and the 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.
7. Adopt a politician
Write a monthly letter or email to your local member for council or parliament on issues that are important to you.
Take action to support specific legislative initiatives or give your opinion and advice on what you think they should focus on.
8. Embrace diversity
Travel to neighbourhoods, communities and events that are ethnically focused, to gain a greater appreciation of diverse cultures.
Befriend someone of a different race, ethnicity, religion or age, to explore your prejudices and gain a better understanding of the issues affecting them.
9. Sign a pledge
We are all bombarded with emails and pleas from groups hoping we will sign their petition or pledge. It takes five minutes to sign your name to one of these documents, but could mean the world of difference for those trying to give legs to their cause
10. Practice what you preach
Remember social justice begins in the home. There is no point going out and urging others in the community to change their words and actions if you haven’t first looked at your own stomping ground.
Get your children, friends or family members involved, and keep them informed and educated about social justice issues and human rights, it will help to give them a global approach and perspective to their schoolwork and their life – keeping in mind that they are the future.