As our fall programming is being crafted and plotted out for the upcoming year, Community Works would like to take a moment- or a month- to recognize, appreciate and highlight all of the luminous work that is going on within the social justice realm. We have initiated ‘Social Justice Month‘- a community engagement and visibility campaign set to occur during the month of October.
Social Justice month celebrates all of the communities in Massachusetts whose vision for America is expansive, inclusive, open-hearted, thoughtful and full of neighborliness and righteous social action.
The language of Social Justice is a promise, an unwritten social contract, with others that says “I recognize the bountiful gifts and wisdom that I have been given, and I would like to share these with others who also bring their gifts and wisdom to share with me.” The exponential accumulation of that wisdom lifts us up and sustains a whole community. Social justice imposes on each of us a personal responsibility to collaborate with others, at whatever level of the “Common Good” in which we participate, to design and continually perfect our institutions as tools for personal and social development.
The practice of social justice can take many forms and is expressed in different ways. I feel that I am in the presence of social justice in my neighborhood by the number of friendly hello’s I encounter as I walk, by the number of small coffee shops, bookstores, community centers and street corners that are alive with conversations, community events and other goings- on where people are gathered to advocate, fight for and protect the rights of all our neighbors. Here is where the conditions for social justice arise and thrive.
But lately, I sense that our social justice is being eroded. It is fueled by the realization that our government is stripping down and tearing apart our community – one that we struggled to build brick by brick. It is fueled by the knowledge that the concerns of white supremacists are being given a voice at the top levels of government; that our rights are being stomped on by the poverty of spirit that exists among the Trump White House and within the ranks of the Republican party.
As a counterpoint, the spirit of social justice as practiced at Community Works is bountiful and alive. Below is a sampling of responses from CW members who were asked the question: “What does social justice mean to you”:
What does social justice mean?
We believe it means to:
- insure that the government serves all the people,
- empowers and respect disenfranchised groups,
- provides adequate healthy food resources for all,
- have affordable housing for all in a safe neighborhood,
- sustain high quality education and cultural activities for all,
- give access to their original birth certificate to all adoptees,
- make voting easily available to all and everyone’s vote count,
- include productive safe employment with a livable wage as a right,
- make the basis of criminal justice throughout respectful rehabilitation for all,
- protect the natural environment and wildlife and provide clean air and water,
- create a health system with comprehensive, affordable, accessible and culturally competent care for everyone,
- nurture all vulnerable populations (elderly, women, children, LGBTQ, immigrants, disabled, refugees, people of all races, and religions).
It all means that we fight back by continuing to stand in our own truth. Our social justice challenges inequality and promotes opportunity, rights, fairness and respect. Please join Community Works as we endeavor to create the communities we all want to live in…ones that are compassionate, safe, free of discrimination and full of hope.
Happy Social Justice Month 2017!