To me Social Justice is both a state of mind and an action. It is the process by which governments, groups, and individuals begin to think about, and strive for, equality and justice for all individuals. It is an individual social worker thinking “Why does X part of my served population not get access to A? I better figure this out!”, it is a politician stating “If elected I want to create a law to improve the lives of ABC because this inequality has gone on far to long”, and it is community members being frustrated over issue 1 and wondering what can be done or if others might be feeling the same way.
With the social justice mindset we see things as part of a whole; we understand that the injustices we view around us are human made and that we can help to change that. We begin to set things in motion, and therefore, it is the catalyst for changing what we see as unjust and the driving force behind what we do professionally as social workers from a Micro to a Macro level.
But Social Justice is more than this mindset, it is also taking action. It is taking this mindset and developing something. It is social change and social action, program development, project implementation, community level crisis intervention, personal and community intervention, goal planning, and so much more.
The pity is that in our practice as social workers, social justice is often overlooked or ignored. The profession is left with a large disconnect between mindset and action, as well as Micro and Macro practice. Thus, sometimes we fail to see the bigger picture, and we fail to reach out to other professionals to see if they experience or feel the same way. So, please share your thoughts and make sure to network. Think and create something new to help your clients, big or small. In reality social justice is what you make of it, but the important key is to make that mindset into action.
Written By Georgianna Reilly, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer