Equal pay for women.
Clean water for Flint, Michigan.
Trans women of color have high rates of being victims of violence.
Opportunities for individuals with a disability.
Bathrooms for transgender individuals.
Homelessness and poverty.
Life on Native American/Indigenous People’s reservations.
Public schools. Charter schools. Private schools.
Sexual violence and harassment.
That is just a short list of the topics that may come up in conversations when people talk about diversity and social justice. Certainly there are more. And certainly these conversations are becoming more frequent, in both the public space and private discussions. In our recent #WITwants2know, 68% of our respondents indicated they are having conversations with their friends about issues related to diversity and social justice.
Social Justice is the conscious practice of actively engaging with others to move beyond basic understanding to creating/affecting positive change at micro & macro levels of society. This practice requires the integration of individuals’ experiences, knowledge, and perspectives, while acknowledging our history and continually reflecting on issues of inequality, inequity, power, and privilege.
Working towards a socially just community is most often done with others. It involves those with agency (power, voice, resources), allies, agitators, and those who are oppressed. Social justice includes systemic change and recognizes the influence one person can have on another person, a group, an organization, or a nation.
More and more, we are discovering that young people have great interest in social justice issues. In January, students will have the opportunity to attend a (free) overnight retreat – the Beloved Community Social Justice Retreat. Based on the ideals of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ideals of a beloved community, students who attend this retreat engage in group dialogues and activities, and personal reflection. At this retreat, we learn about ourselves and each other. We leave the retreat, just 24 hours after we arrived, with an action plan on how we can work towards a more socially just community. Join us….