In the last decade the term “social justice” has become more and more popular especially in democratic countries. So what does social justice refer to? Briefly said, social justice is the fairness within a society. It is fairness in opportunities, basic needs, education, gender, race and the environment. Social justice relies on four main principles, which are interrelated to each other: equity, access, participation and human rights.
Equity in this case is not to be confused with equality. It is the use of resources for the benefit of the people who need help the most. While it might be considered “unequal” according to a strict definition, equity leads to a society with reduced inequalities between people of different incomes and opportunities.
We are all connected to each other that is why societies should offer access to resources and services such as education, healthcare, shelter and food to everyone. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case in many countries. Access to quality healthcare is one example: while the wealthier people get treated in private hospitals, some unfortunate people have to go into debt just to pay their hospital bills.
Participation without access and equity cannot exist. In a healthy society, decisions should be made by diverse representatives, not just by a select group. People of all gender, races and sexual orientations should get a chance to voice their concerns and help make a change. Undermined groups of a society should be encouraged to voice themselves, while the barriers to participation get to be removed, so that everyone gets the chance to impact the society they are a part of.
Lastly, human rights should be a pillar of any society. Social justice without civil, political, economic, cultural or social rights, cannot exist. These rights are considered the most important principle to social justice, as they are internationally recognized and any government that does not grant these rights, should be held accountable.
Living conditions for the Romani community in Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Social justice should be a key aspect in any society, but it seems that only few people actually want to help make a change for the better. On TV we see politicians preoccupied with economic growth and new military assets, when the world is in a much bigger need of a sense of community, of belonging. People want to feel heard and supported, they want to feel like they belong in the society they are a part of, but sadly this isn’t the case for everyone.
One may think that the world has “gone mad” and that we can only watch it go down. We stopped believing in our own power to change it. People want to either change the world completely, or not at all. There is the belief that change should be on a national or international level, when in fact, it should be made day by day, through little acts of kindness and compassion.
So who should be the warrior?
There are many little ways to help create a just and fair society for future generations. The first and most important one would be to stay informed. There is much to be learned about the troubles in the community just by watching the news. Whenever you hear about a new movement, get information from reliable sources. Information is power, the more you know, the easier it is to help the people in need.
Many minorities have to fight for their rights. If you are lucky enough to have those rights already, go help someone else as well. Be thoughtful and grateful for a safe life that allows you to be who you are without guilt or shame. Not everyone gets that. The battle for women’s rights was a very long one and it still is in some countries, but we tend to forget that. We forget that some time ago, people were enslaved based on the color of their skin, or they were murdered because of their beliefs. Life may seem fair to you today, but keep your eyes open and think of the many minorities who still have to fight for the same rights others take for granted.
What else can simple people do for social justice?
Go vote. Donate. Volunteer.
There are more than one way to social justice.
Be aware, disciplined, put the effort in what you do and most importantly, care about other people.
The little actions of everyday people influence the society we live in, much more than we give it credit for.
Go be the change and see how the world around you changes!
Khetane Festival, Pata Rat, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
In One Era & Out the Other - by Sam Levenson
“We leave you a tradition with a future.
The tender loving care of human
being will never become obsolete.
People even more than things
have to be restored, renewed,
revived, reclaimed and redeemed
and redeemed and redeemed.
Never throw out anybody.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand,
you’ll find one at the end of your arm.
As you grow older, you will discover that
you have two hands: one for helping yourself,
the other for helping others.”