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World Day of Social Justice

Dear Emersonians,

February 20, is World Day of Social Justice. Declared by the United Nations in 2007, this day calls for the importance of centering human rights in the work toward equity.

In the Social Justice Collaborative, we have been grappling with the importance of messages that do more than virtue signal, but respond–with humanity–to local and global events. We’ve been engaging in dialogue about our own complicity, collective process, accountability, and shared responsibilities to interrupt harm. These aren’t easy conversations and they are necessary to our work.

A core belief of social justice work is that no body is disposable. Coined by disability justice advocate Patty Berne with Sins Invalid, this principle must extend to all acts of oppression, and be foundational to community care.

Systemic inequality is painful. It has material consequences for how people live, their lifespan, if their rights are protected, and what opportunities they can access. 

Considering the human toll of injustice should be a tenet of how we move as an interconnected community here at Emerson. We must hold space for our individual and collective experiences of exclusion and vulnerability as we learn together, through difficult conversations about local inequity, global conflicts, violence, and struggles for liberation.

We hold this nuance when naming that the goal of social justice is to ensure all people have their basic needs met, humanity respected, identities affirmed, and access to safety, education, and well-being, all with a sense of belonging. As Fannie Lou Hamer said in 1971, “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”

On World Day of Social Justice, we shine a light on our own process in order to acknowledge the complexity of these conversations. At the SJC, we have committed to continuing our own work through an internal study session in order to deepen our understanding of power and wrestle with the global-scale grief. We hope to inspire all Emersonians to prioritize engaging in courageous community learning, reflection, and action. 

Resources for Consideration:

With Care,
The Social Justice Collaborative

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