Most people believe themselves to be in favour of Social Justice but there is often confusion as to what Social Justice really is. It is a very fashionable phrase at the moment and it has grown to mean almost anything that the user wants it to mean.
Social justice is about preventing human rights abuses and ensuring adherence to international law.
Social Justice is about what is and is not fair and right. To work for social justice is also to take exception to injustice. Those who suffer need committed defenders of our shared humanity.
Social justice is a situation where individuals and entire societies have substantial and roughly equivalent opportunities for the sensation of human dignity, along with general wellbeing and human development.
Social Justice could also be called social action because very often when you are performing social service, you also become involved in solving the problem which created the need in the first place, and the two are closely related and often blend together.
To have any chance of implementation, social justice needs a critical mass of supporters who truly understand what they are supporting, especially if they are to bring others along with them. That, my friends, is where we come in!
Social Justice has many aspects, including the following four.
SOLIDARITY This means living as though other people and living things matter. An example of this would be: standing with the marginalised, in practical ways.
EDUCATION We are obligated to educate ourselves and others about social justice.
COMMUNITY ORGANIZING Get involved in the community!
ADVOCACY This is giving a voice to those who have no voice, that is, the poor, the sick, the shut in, the unborn, the dying, the disadvantaged, the immigrants, those imprisoned, the homeless, racial minorities etc. We are called to speak out whenever dignity is endangered;
The obligation of social justice does fall upon each of us as individuals. However, one person can't do this alone and needs to work with others. We are very fortunate in our parish to be in the early stages of developing our social justice focus. For some time members of our Parish Community have been involved in very successful projects in the Solomons and Cambodia. In addition to these endeavours we are now reaching out to our nearest neighbour. Timor Leste - or, as it was previously known. East Timor.
This is where we must come together as a focussed community;
It is important when we help people to do more than merely give them handouts - food, clothing etc. Whilst this is good and solves the problem in the short term, the problem is intrinsically deeper than that. To really assist people in need, in crisis, we need to give them the means to help themselves. Thus restoring their dignity.
To achieve this we need a vision of different possibilities, of what could be. Work for justice in light of this might be as big or small as we are able to fit into our busy lives. In the parable of the Good Samaritan Christ challenges us to help others. Regardless of material wealth, we all have gifts and talents that will assist in the betterment of the lives of less fortunate people. You know, it really takes very little to make a big difference in our lives and in the world. We need to be humble, believing that the community of Soibada has as much to offer us as we can offer them. This is a partnership, a friendship, a two way relationship.