What is social justice?
"A nation, like an individual, must have a soul." A. Powel Davies
Social justice means that social organizations should be held to the same standards that individuals are: honesty, integrity, non-violence, compassion, and openness to others.
Personal responsibility for an individual equals social justice for organizations.
Social organizations are institutions such as schools, churches, banks, police departments and governments, and organizations such as clubs and community associations.
Why is social justice important?
"Poverty is the greatest form of violence." Mahatma Gandhi
The greatest suffering in the world is caused by social injustices: wealth and resource use inequality, war, and racism. These injustices are not just personal failings but social structures which create winners and losers.
What prevents social justice?
"Evil happens in the world because someone benefits from it." Carol Bly
Winners keep their powerful positions by preventing changes to the systems which support their desires over the needs of others. To challenge a social injustice we must reform the structures which support it. Those who now benefit from injustice will resist this change with the power of their institutions.
Why is social justice work controversial?
"Unjust systems perpetuate themselves by institutional violence." Walter Wink
Unlike personal change, this process of social change is always controversial. For example we agree that individuals should be discouraged from using illegal drugs. But when you question the difference in court sentences for black and white drug users, or challenge the assumption that prison is an appropriate response to drug use, you meet resistance from political and legal institutions and public opinion.
How does the Center for Just Living work to create social justice?
"Individuals can resist injustice, only in community can we create justice." Jim Corbett
The Center for Just Living, in the student union, is a workplace, a meeting place and a hang out place for students to become involved in social justice issues. Students gather here to share ideas and to support each other in this challenging and important work. There is real camaraderie in working together for the good of all.
The center offers programs, campaigns and speakers that introduce the college community to social justice issues. The center houses clubs that promote social and environmental justice. It takes compassion and courage to work for social justice. And it takes good organizing skills- you cannot do it alone; the resistance to change is powerful. In the CJL we learn how to do this work together.