What does social justice mean to me?

AchieveYourPotential-267x300A couple of weeks ago we received a text on Global Village on Newstalk 106-108 from one of our listeners requesting for me to explain what I thought social justice meant. At the time I jokingly said that if he or she listened to the show it would be rather obvious what we meant by the term social justice as after all I have been presenting the show for the last 6 years and the message has been consistent from the onset. However, I thought it was actually a good idea to “set out my stall” so to speak and really explain what social justice means to me personally.

Without going into any legal definitions for me social justice is the ability for people to live an authentic life, realize their true potential and actively contribute to society. So this means irrespective of your name, colour of skin, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability or disability, family status, civil status, social economic status, address, religion, membership to the Traveller or Roma community, level of education, learning institution you attended, political belief, criminal record – whatever your personal circumstances, if you work hard at what you are good at you should be able to realize your true potential.

I have lived in countries where irrespective of how talented or how hard working  a person is they can never live an authentic life or realize their true potential because its more about what college you went to or what class your come from or who your parents are… This is something I have lived through because in both the countries I grew up in Italy and Sri Lanka there was an emphasis on education over a person’s talents or abilities. The caste system is still an issue in Sri Lanka and in Italy if you don’t have a college degree your opportunities are extremely slim. Some Italians have not just one but 2 degrees and they are called by their profession – the lawyer, the director, the professor – l’avvocato, it direttore, il professore – instead of using first names like we do here in Ireland. This is all well and good if you come from a family who had the resources to send you to college but what if you didn’t have the resources or you experienced trauma in your development or if you had dyslexia or another intellectual disability and the education system just didn’t work for you – what then?

Creating a society where all residents can reach their true potential is not always straight forward and just black and white as a lot of the times its grey… certain issues such as reproductive rights over the rights of the unborn, religious beliefs and their view on gender equality or homosexuality, sex workers or prostitutes, euthanasia, – there are many issues that are yet to be resolved and this can only happen through conversations and awareness which is what we are all about here on Global Village

For 6 years now every week on the show we bring our listeners to the core of the latest social justice and mental health stories by speaking to those affected instead of bringing on a panel of talking heads.  At the heart of Global Village – we are still talking about what connects us and matters to us all… But we are not happy just raising awareness as Nobel Laureate Yuan T. Lee said “We need to become good citizens in the global village, instead of competing. What are we competing for – to drive more cars, eat more steaks? That will destroy the world”. Well, with the wonders of modern day communication the world is getting smaller every day and we are now more connected to each other than ever before as we are now living in a Global Village. However, with that connectivity comes responsibility and we can harness this to spark positive social change and create a world where all residents can live authentic lives, realize their true potential and actively contribute to their world.

So what are we waiting for – let’s be good citizens of the Global Village and be part of the change!