What is social justice and does it have anything to do with you?
First, is social justice socialism? (Lots of people want no part of that!)
Second, What does it have to do with you? (Should you care?)
Creating a Common Language Around Doing Good
The truth is, there are a lot of definitions of social justice, and honestly, the terminology surrounding concepts of doing good, making a difference, and justice aren’t very broad in the English language, making it hard to find common phrases to rally around. And the terms that do exist can be confusing and misunderstood.
That’s what this page is for–to give us a common language!
Definitions of Justice (and more!)
A belief that people (hence, “social”) should have a shared experience of justice, not based off of favoritism, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, gender, etc… and as such, there should be equal opportunities and rights.
Restorative justice – a state of “shalom” or peace because all wrong is righted, hurt forgiven, beauty and order abound and the world and all relationships are as they should be (based off of a deeper inner longing society seems to feel.
The concept ranks heavy in religions, especially judeo-christian traditions.
Biblical justice is essentially social justice based off of a set of absolute truths found in the Bible. However, there are wide interpretations of these. *Ready to learn more? Scroll down a little for the free study on this topic!*
What Type of Justice Do We Prioritize at Average Advocate?
As you can see, social justice is a moral construct. In laymen’s terms, what does that look like? It means that everyone has got an opinion, but they don’t all smell good. It can be relative to who you are talking to.
PEOPLE: Here at Average Advocate, we prioritize humans and the social issues they face. In that, we believe that people matter and are equal in value (even when we don’t agree with them).
GLOBAL: Average Advocate was originally founded back in 2010 to focus on helping ordinary people do something about global social justice issues. Over the years this has changed, especially with the addition of Safe Tribe and refocusing on supporting ourselves, as advocates, to get closer to being fully alive while making a difference. However, there will always be a strong leaning towards helping the Western World bridge the gap to the Global South, or rich world to the poor world (whatever you want to call it).
HOME, COMMUNITY, WORLD: As we make a difference in our home and community, we always want to remember we live in a global context. However, becoming someone who can make a sustainable difference globally (helping without hurting) usually starts in the home, and often next in the community. We don’t want to end there though–let’s allow ourselves to then be challenged to go into the world.
WORLDVIEW: Also, as most things go, Average Advocate tends to take on the worldview of it’s founder (myself, Elisa!) who is a deep believer in the idea of restorative justice and Biblical justice (which isn’t really that relative at all). As such, some topics might not be approached from the same angle as popular culture at any given time. In addition, sometimes I specifically address those of faith, who share my worldview. However, Average Advocate isn’t about Christians, it is about everyday people who wan to make a difference. I will always do my best to be welcoming people of every worldview and do my best to create a safe space for respectful discussion.
What Social Justice Issues Do We Talk About?
What social justice issues, then, does Average Advocate tend to talk about? These include, but are not limited to the following:
- Modern slavery
- Sex trafficking
- Labor trafficking
- Related injustices
Refugees & immigration
Other forms of extreme injustice:
- Widows without rights
- Tyrannical governments
- Clean water
- Distribution of resources
- Sustainable development
Conflict zones and genocide
Children in need
- Adoption and orphan care
- Foster care
- Sponsor children
Is that it for Justice Issues?
Of course not! We are not limiting ourselves to these topics of advocacy, let alone requiring our conversations to be concerning what affects other countries–rather, we realize changing the world on a grand-level usually requires us to be active where we are first.
And yet, our passion is to not stay satisfied with responding to needs on a local level, but to get to a place where we love our global neighbor, both literally and globally.
Actually, at our core, that is what Average Advocate is all about–simply to learn the art of loving others. (Which usually means we learn to love ourselves too.)
We do acknowledge that not all causes are listed here. After all, many do-gooder causes are actually opposing forces of each other. So why did we choose these ones?
Average Advocate was birthed out of a response to these ancient words:
“No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly[a] with your God.
“He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing.”
“There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
“No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.
7 Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
8 “Then your salvation will come like the dawn,
and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your godliness will lead you forward,
and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.
9 Then when you call, the Lord will answer.
‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.
“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!
10 Feed the hungry,
and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.
“Give [your entire tithe] it to the Levites, who will receive no allotment of land among you, as well as to the foreigners living among you, the orphans, and the widows in your towns, so they can eat and be satisfied. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all your work.”
Do we claim to understand all the passages in the Bible? Is this supposed to be a valid theological argument to respond to these specific social issues? And what about ancient scripture from other religions?
Yes, we do realize there are lots of confusing segments in Biblical scripture, and we are also not making theological statement by choosing only these passages to display. Neither do we claim to understand all the gray areas. In addition, we apprecaited that others, from various backgrounds, motivate individuals to show justice and compassion.
These ancient words were chosen as our standard simply because these were our founder’s original inspiration, and birthed an advocacy movement. We still believe the above scriptures are beautiful enough to live by.
Considering, we are not opposed to other respectful conversations being brought up as a response to our interpretation of the word “justice.” But we reserve the right to stick by our original inspiration. We aren’t here to cause division, rather, simply to try to bring a little heaven to earth in these areas specifically. We know there is a place for you elsewhere if we disagree on what “justice” means. But let’s focus on what we do agree on!