Social Justice is in our name, and is the common theme that ties all of Social Justice Solutions material together, but what is really behind these words? What is the true definition of social justice? Wikipedia suggests that ‘Social Justice’ originated as a religious term to acknowledge the collective nature of humanity, and our personal commitment to helping other humans, but here are some of the common definitions:
“A state or doctrine of egalitarianism (Egalitarianism defined as 1: a belief in human equality especially with respect to social, political, and economic affairs; 2: a social philosophy advocating the removal of inequalities among people)” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary
”The fair and proper administration of laws conforming to the natural law that all persons, irrespective of ethnic origin, gender, possessions, race, religion, etc., are to be treated equally and without prejudice. See also civil rights.” - Business Dictionary
” The distribution of advantages and disadvantages within a society” – Dictionary.Com
“…justice exercised within a society, particularly as it is exercised by and among the various social classes of that society. A socially just society is defined by its advocates and practioneers as being based on the principles of equality and solidarity; this pedagogy also maintains that the socially just society both understands and values human rights, as well as recognizing the dignity of every human being.” – Wikipedia
“Social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities.” – National Association of Social Workers
“Social Justice is the virtue which guides us in creating those organized human interactions we institutions. In turn, social institution when justly organized provide us with access to what is good for the person, both individually and in our associations with others. Social justice also imposes on each of us a personal responsibility to work with others to design and continually perfect our institutions as tools for personal and social development“- Center for Economic and Social Justice
While it’s definition varies depending on the source common themes that exist across them all are the ideas of: human rights; dignity; political, economical, social, and other equality; equal distribution of resources; justice; use of policy and laws; removing inequality; societal participation in change; personal responsibility; and creating access to opportunity and chance through action. With the above in mind it becomes evident why Social Justice is a key value of social work, as indicated both by the NASW’s Code of Ethics and by the International Federation of Social Worker’s Definition of Social Work.
Social Justice Solutions fits right into this definition, by working with social workers as a group to ensure access to up to date information and news about the social justice issues we face as professionals and individuals.
The key to social justice though is acknowledging that it’s definition can vary, that is the wonder of something that can become so personal yet also so global. The advocates and practitioners that advance social justice need to have a handle on what social justice means to them, and how this can apply to the work they do and the people they do it with.
For more original thoughts please check out our 6 part series: ” What Is Social Justice”
Therefore, Social Justice Solutions thought it might be a good idea to give you some insight into how our writers view social justice. We have created a series which will be published periodically titled “What is Social Justice?” in which we will share our ‘definition’. Most importantly: We want to hear what you think social justice is. Feel free to submit a piece, and be part of the definition of Social Justice!
Written By Georgianna Reilly, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer