Social Justice

    Working for a just society is an active expression of living compassion.

    Here's how some of our partners are practicing compassion:


    “What if all kids could start out thinking that difference is great?  That’s awesome we don’t all match, that we don’t have the same ideas or have to look exactly alike?  What if we could inspire our future citizens to promote inclusivity and acceptance?”  When you hear Hannah Lavon, who created her company Pals Socks, you will realize how pairs of colorful mismatched socks for babies, toddlers, tweens and adults carry out the mission of “Even if we don’t match, let’s be pals.”   Imagine the curiosity and exploration created when a kid wears a pair of mismatched socks such as lion and zebra, cat and dog, moose and bear, milk and cookies.  Pals is definitely a fun way to learn that friends can be different than me.

    Previous Interviews

    Overview of Social Justice

    Social justice is a broad topic. The world in which we live is complex, filled with wonder and angst and joy, suffering and pain. There are injustices, human trafficking, political oppression and extreme poverty in both hemispheres.

    Social justice is defined as "... promoting a just society by challenging injustice and valuing diversity.” It exists when "all people share a common humanity and therefore have a right to equitable treatment, support for their human rights, and a fair allocation of community resources." In conditions of social justice, people are "not to be discriminated against, nor their welfare and well-being constrained or prejudiced on the basis of gender, sexuality, religion, political affiliations, age, race, belief, disability, location, social class, socioeconomic circumstances, or other characteristic of background or group membership" (Toowoomba Catholic Education, 2006).

    The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that over 65.3 million people are displaced around the world due to war and persecution. The Institute for Criminal Policy Research shows that there are millions of prisoners incarcerated globally with the U.S. holding over two million; China, close to 1,700,00; and with the Russian Federation and Brazil having over half a million and India over 400,000.

    It is estimated that over 30 million people are held as slaves in the world today and the most vulnerable population to enslavement are children. It is reported that Haiti has the second-highest rate of slavery with 1 child in every 48 held in captivity. India holds the highest rate of slavery, including practices of bondage, child marriage and sex slavery.

    It is expected that by the year 2020 the growth of urban areas will peak with close to 60% of our global population living in cities. "By 2030, the world is projected to have 41 mega-cities with more than 10 million inhabitants each. Tokyo is projected to remain the world’s largest city in 2030 with 37 million inhabitants, followed closely by Delhi where the population is projected to rise swiftly to 36 million.” (UN World Urbanization Prospects)

    Racism, xenophobia and neo-Nazism are on the rise globally. In the United States, the unsettling of confusion and fear resulting from shootings of Black Americans by police has led to a new epidemic of misunderstanding and extreme verbal clashes between groups. In Europe, right-wing parties have made political gains in France, Germany, Greece, Finland, Denmark, the Netherland, Hungary, Austria and Italy. Civil War in Syria, continued conflict in Iraq, Yemen, Somali and now Yemen has resulted  in thousands of people fleeing their countries weekl--only to be turned away from European borders. The founder of the French Party Front Nation has gone so far as to suggest that Ebola could be released on migrants in order to decrease their numbers. Of course, social justice problems are distinctly different geographically, but the injustice remains the same.

    As cities grow, so do problems and challenges which include the inability to deal with the multiple needs of the city’s hundreds of thousands and millions of people. Often neighborhoods become segregated and crowded, healthcare services and public assistance decrease as poverty continues to grow. Expectations of schools and law enforcement become unrealistic and communication among all citizens limited. Compound this with the large number of new arrivals, including immigrants, refugees, homeless military veterans and families living on the streets, the scarcity of jobs and we have a too familiar scene of need, unrest and anger. Cities have always been challenged but not to the degree in which they find themselves currently. Urban populations have risen 30% globally in the last 50 years and continue to spiral upward. Each of the problems mentioned above is linked to the other—not one is independent of the other.

    The Charter for Compassion and Social Justice

    There must exist a paradigm, a practical model for social change that includes an understanding of ways to transform consciousness that are linked to efforts to transform structures. 

    ~bell hooks, Killing Rage: Ending Racism

    The mission of the Charter for Compassion and Social Justice sector is to bring together diverse people from all over the world to find ways to improve access to social justice.

    • We will act as a conduit to help identify the issues that get in the way of equality and equity for all people by providing a safe place to explore, acknowledge and formulate action which promotes movement towards social justice.
    • We will promote dialogue that values the common desires and unique distinctions between individuals who are striving for social justice so that they can either join forces or strengthen their existing movement.
    • We will act as a resource in identifying groups working towards social justice to spotlight the intersectionality between issues in order to promote an environment of working with instead of working against each other.
    • We will provide materials and resources to support individuals and communities to deal with pertinent issues in their communities related to social justice.
    • Above all, we will seek to promote compassionate action towards all the voices speaking out for social justice.

    Vision, Mission and Goals of the Charter for Compassion Social Justice Sector 

    Vision: A just society, built through compassionate communities that challenge injustice and value diversity

    Mission: To inspire compassionate just actions in all areas of human social endeavors by connecting, supporting, promoting, challenging and championing social justice locally and globally

    Coordinator of Team: Priscilla Hutton

    Long Term Intentions for Creation of the Social Justice Sector
    1. Provide educational forums, i.e., panel discussion, book studies.
    2. Provide resources relative to educating ourselves and our communities around social justice by creating annotated bibliographies
    and Social Justice Compassion Readers.
    3. Provide platforms for highlighting/discussing specific issues around social justice (call-ins, workshops, Social Justice Film Festival,etc.).
    4. Connect organizations/individual working on social justice with each other and lift them up so that people connect and learn from each other.
    5. Hold informative conversations with people who are directing compassionate city efforts to foster social justice.
    6. Cross reference Social Justice Sector with other International Compassion Action Network (ICAN) Sectors:
    (Business, Education, Health, Arts, Environment, Peace, Restorative Justice, Religion/Spirituality/Interfaith, Science and Research, Social Services, Women and Girls).

    Resources to Support Overview

    What is Social Justice by Matthew Robinson, Ph.D.
    The Social Justice Sector leads are Pattie Williams, Priscilla Hutton, Ben Leslie, and Todd Porter. To contact the Social Justice Sector leads, send us an email.
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