Despite popular Western thought, it is virtually impossible to pull one’s self up by your own bootstraps. Unfortunately, many of the more affluent in society believe this idea to be true. People often ignore the help they had along the road to riches, or to athletic prowess, or even to academic excellence. Somehow they disillusion themselves by believing that they are “self-made” or “self-taught.” They conveniently forget that someone taught them the alphabet, that someone else bought them their school uniforms, or that their job promotion came after a good word was put in by a co-worker. I say this to state the obvious, WE ALL NEED HELP.
As the definition states, social justice is much more than handouts and welfare systems. It’s about equal access to education and financial gains. It’s about sharing of resources, not cutting off access to those who cannot afford to pay for them. It’s about dismantling racial segregation, profiling, and race or culture based privileges. At some time or another, social justice touches everyone no matter his or her race, gender, or socioeconomic status.
I have had the privilege of working along side social justice champions on four continents and these experiences have forever changed my worldview concerning politics, religion, culture, privilege, money, and resources. I have met people who live in palaces and I have met others who live in tin huts with dirt floors. I have seen poor people get unjustly brutalized simply because of their social status and I have seen the rich take advantage of the poor and prosper. For myself, fighting for social justice is more than the latest fad or a cool bandwagon to jump on; it’s a way of life. Many people before me spoke up, protested, fought to change legislature, and some lost their lives, so that I may live “free” and thus I have an obligation to do the same.
I fight. I teach. I work. All because I believe that through our collective blood, sweat, and tears, one day, WE SHALL OVERCOME!