When you hear the phrase "social justice," what do you think of? Do you think of racial equity? How about LGBTQ+ rights? Or maybe environmental justice? These examples are just a few of the many facets of social justice.
Social justice is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as "a state or doctrine of egalitarianism." Egalitarianism is further defined as "a belief in human equality especially with respect to social, political, and economic affairs" and "a social philosophy advocating the removal of inequalities among people." In other words, social justice revolves around the ideal of all people having and executing equitable and equal rights in society and involves everyone actively participating in the removal of these inequities in order to ensure this justice for all is achieved.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Egalitarianism definition
Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Social justice definition
The promotion and advocacy of social justice in our society is absolutely crucial due to the inherent and debilitating inequities that are perpetuated against minority groups here in the United States, as well as around the globe. In order to advocate for equal and equitable rights, it is vital to first acknowledge and consider the sheer volume of injustice in our world, followed by building a strong foundation of the facts and issues surrounding these injustices, in order to engage in consequential conversations about them and truly make a difference.
One way to do this is to read, read, and read some more! Whether it is a nonfiction memoir, a biography of an iconic social reformer, or a fictionalized account of characters who struggle with real-world issues, reading will allow you to develop and fortify a cornerstone of knowledge, as well as nurture a true sense of empathy for others and what they are going through. With this background, it is then easier to engage in meaningful and uncomfortable, but necessary, conversations with others about how to promote social justice for all.
In addition to the titles listed in the following pages of this guide, here are some online resources you can consult for more information about social justice and how you can get involved (this is by no means a comprehensive list).
Asian Americans Advancing Justice: https://www.advancingjustice-aajc.org/
Brennan Center for Justice: https://www.brennancenter.org/
Color of Change: https://colorofchange.org/
Green America: https://www.greenamerica.org/
Human Rights Campaign: https://www.hrc.org/
National Environmental Justice Advisory Council: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/national-environmental-justice-advisory-council
National Immigration Law Center: https://www.nilc.org/
National Organization on Disability: https://www.nod.org/
National Organization for Women Foundation: https://now.org/
National Women's Law Center: https://nwlc.org/
Race Forward: https://www.raceforward.org/
Social Justice Books: A Teaching for Change Project: https://socialjusticebooks.org/
Social Justice Resource Center: https://socialjusticeresourcecenter.org/
Southern Poverty Law Center: https://www.splcenter.org/