How often do you hear the phrase 'social justice'? Do you know what exactly it means? Do we have it?
For some people, social justice may be fairness and compassion. For others, it may be the state of being given equal opportunities. What this phrase means may vary from person to person, but they all share the same denominators—equal rights, equal opportunities, and equal treatment. Now, how do we get these things? Do we have to work for them? Should we even work for them?
The need for social justice
When it comes to having social justice, everybody is entitled to fundamental needs and rights. Think of the Lumad tribes forced out of their lands and the landless farmers who don't earn a decent income. Think of the victims of hate crimes worldwide and the children who have to work as poverty intensifies. We cannot achieve social justice in the absence of peace and order or respect for human rights. Social justice isn't only meant to be supplied to people whom we know and love or to places as far as our eyes could only reach. It extends to people whose needs and rights are just as needed but not given. By speaking up for those in need and supporting their rights, we are working for social justice. However, working for it also means there is no fairness.
Moving towards social justice
As we commemorate the World Day of Social Justice today, may we acknowledge our privileges and discover ways to use them for good. Privileges are unearned benefits that are given to a particular person who fits in a specific group. To be privileged means that we don't have to worry about where our next meal is coming from or how to continue our studies in the next few years. It's necessary to use what we have and do what we can do to bring other people up with us. Social justice is not possible if the voices of the oppressed and marginalized are silenced. To tear down the system of inequalities within our societies, we must let the people most affected participate in addressing the problems.
Progress for social justice demands well-crafted policies. While activists have always been part of the drive towards social justice, the necessary changes fall to public servants responsible for shaping policies and proposals. However, each of us plays a crucial role in achieving improved and fair outcomes for all. To use technology with purpose, we must inform the public about what causes injustices and educate them about the concept of a thriving society. We can also encourage other professionals and community members to learn more about and engage in social issues in general through various social media platforms. We may have different ways of helping, but at the end of the day, we still share the same goals—equal rights, equal opportunities, and equal treatment.