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What is Justice?

“Just behavior or treatment.”

-Google

But this definition falls far short of describing the backbone of the very society we should all seek to realize. Most of us would describe justice with one word – fairness.

Justice shapes our communities, our morals & our government. Justice in government, policy, or legislation is often stated, but it is not always earnestly sought. 

Justice is the principle that people get what they deserve.

Justice is something we all need to be thinking about.

no justice no peace
SOURCE: Medium

Though the concept of justice seems to be well understood universally, it really isn’t. 

Social justice concepts in America have been recorded since the colonialists in Europe. 

Bartolomé de Las Casas, a Spanish Dominican priest, really began to look at social justice implications in the 16th century. He wrote to the King of Spain & pleaded with him to create new laws to stop the exploitation of Native Americans. Even though Las Casa’s words were shared around Europe, these concepts didn’t become popularized for hundreds of years. 

Concepts of social justice most notably have only recently begun to arise with any prevalence in relatively recent times. 

Ultimately, justice is related to fairness.

SOURCE: Ford Foundation

Ideally, justice incorporates fairness as a foundational principle. 

John Rawls in his A Theory Of Justice and Justice As Fairness, examines justice extensively & most especially in a social context. 

A concept Rawls makes use of is “the veil of ignorance”. He suggests that if someone were conscious in an “original position”, somehow ignorant of anything about yourself, your natural abilities or position in society in a hypothetical moment before birth, behind such a “veil of ignorance” all people would be, in concept, rational, free & morally equal. Such a person would be innately capable of defining a just society. They would be free of corrupting experience or social forces. They would be without personal interest in distorting society unjustly. And they would seek to create a just society to prevent victimizing themselves as much as others.

We each should seek to promote a society which is equitable for all people.

justice for all
SOURCE: LinkedIn

Justice means access to opportunity for everyone. 

To achieve justice for all, a society must ensure:

  • Fair labor wages
  • Human & civil rights to protect the individual from the powerful or the masses 
  • Agency of choice over one’s life 
  • Recourse to protect oneself against injustice
  • Quality of life is accessible to all
  • Everyone shares in prosperity & in hardship
  • Injustice must be actively identified & opposed

 

We embrace the idea that justice, freedom, prosperity & a healthy environment are not just compatible, but inseparable. 

And we need your help.

We can fix our broken criminal justice system, upgrade our declining public schools, deliver superior health care we can all afford, narrow economic inequity, renew our deteriorating infrastructure, restore opportunity & prosperity, all while progressing our society toward cleaner environmental practices. We can do this.

What Is Injustice?

injustice
SOURCE: The Diplomatist

A key to understanding what a just society might look like would be to examine injustice in society. 

Injustice obviously being diametrically opposed to justice, the injustices within a culture often define it more than the justices it may uphold. 

As defined by The Pachamama Alliance, social justice issues can be distinguished into two primary sources:

  • Inter-social treatment: Certain groups endure treatment distinctive to that of others based on culturally or personally held biases & prejudices.
  • Unequal government regulation: The passing of laws, regulations, or policies that purposefully or even inadvertently obstruct, limit, or deny fair access to resources or opportunities. 

Creating a just world is up to all of us. Sign the Declaration of Interdependence today to join the fight.

Sign the Declaration

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