Why is justice important? Many people hold many different perspectives about the importance of justice and social justice.
In a speech called “Lifting the Small Boats”, Christine Lagarde, the managing director of IMF (International Monetary Fund), spoke about the importance of lifting the small boats—“the livelihoods and economic aspirations of the poor and the middle class” in order to see sustainable growth. She focused primarily on the need to reduce income inequality in order to stimulate stronger and more durable growth, stressing that “by lifting the small boats of the poor and the middle class, we can build a fairer society and a stronger economy”. In this way, from an economic perspective, promoting social justice is integral in order to build stable economies.
From a Christian perspective, social justice – and justice – is a fundamental step towards creating the Kingdom of God, significant as a response to the call to be disciples of Jesus and an expression of agape love. As a Catholic school, we draw on the principles of Catholic social teaching which include:
- Preferential Option for the Poor
- The Dignity of the human person
- Stewardship of Creation
- The Common Good – “stems from the dignity, unity and equality of all people” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church)
Ultimately, as individuals made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27,) these social teachings culminate in the importance of justice as an obligation and duty of individuals.
For me, it just is important. But why?
For me, it is critical to consider the common humanity that we all share. While some individuals are more privileged than others – why is that so?
Parentage determines a lot. It determines your country of origin, whether you grow up in a war-torn country, forced to seek refuge, whether fostered at a young age. It determines, for most, the opportunities they have access to, the privileges, the religious or moral framework they are exposed to in the initial stages of life. Thought about very simplistically, that is all that separates one individual from another—determining, at the very least, an individual’s upbringing.
This is something that I think is lost in the rhetoric of the media and at its core is why I believe justice and social justice to be important. Particularly as an individual of uncommon privilege, due to the opportunities I have been given access to by my parents, this is something that I have the luxury of considering. Whether rich, poor, able bodied—we are all human. It may seem clichéd, but I believe that seeking justice and social justice is an obligation that we all hold due to the common dignity of all humans and what little separates us.
Social Justice Captain 2016