What is government’s role in advancing social justice?
Political news often highlights the progress our government makes in advancing social justice efforts. But social justice is not only the government’s responsibility. It’s a partnership of all of us who believe in progress and a mentality that change happens from the ground up. The more members of a community who are included in social movements, the better. When community leaders and governments engage citizens and include them in social reform efforts, those efforts are much more likely to be successful.
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Who can be a part of a social justice movement?
Social justice happens when people come together and make their voices heard. The more people who share your perspective, the stronger your voice can be. It’s not just about quantity, however. When a movement is made up of diverse groups of people, it shows that you’re not just fighting for a small segment of the population.
In short, we are all part of the social justice movement. It’s not just a role for governmental organizations. The government serves the people, not the other way around. Social justice happens when the government hears the people’s voice and operates according to that voice.
The importance of community engagement
Grassroots social justice initiatives start from the bottom. When a community comes together behind an issue, it can bring about change in many ways.
When a person or group is working toward a more socially just outcome, it makes sense to consider the full range of perspectives of those who are helping with the initiative. Community leaders don’t expect to hear a single message; they need people to challenge them to find the best possible solutions to promote justice.
Social justice is about more than fairness. What is fairness? It’s fundamental, but a pretty subjective and easily misunderstood concept. This is why the more people who express their view of what is fair, the more accurately we can establish what is right and wrong in a community.
Politicians can accurately diagnose problems in a community, but real change comes when problems are diagnosed and addressed by community members themselves.
Social justice is achieved through many smaller actions. The true goal of social justice projects can vary in their specifics, but the bottom line is everyone in the community feeling like they have a fair share. The government is part of the process, but community leaders engage individual citizens and community groups to help realize initiatives. All citizens and residents are part of the solution. This gives each a sense of worth and it builds ties between individuals and their community.
There are many ways to be inclusive in social justice projects. Fostering an open and diverse community culture is a crucial part of being more inclusive. This is where the skills you’ve learned while getting your MPA as well as your ability to think critically will come in handy.
Whenever community leaders realize social justice goals, they continue a process of inclusion that brings a community together. Multicultural events and community activities that are fun and engaging for all are good ways to start and continue community dialogue. Community leaders who show a willingness to be inclusive are better at enacting social justice reforms.
If you’re interested in social justice and implementing it across communities, consider a Master of Public Administration online program.