The World Day of Social Justice is an international day which recognizes the importance of social justice in achieving and maintaining peace, security and the fundamental human rights. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Overcoming Barriers and Unleashing Opportunities for Social Justice,” which focuses on the suggestions made in Our Common Agenda to promote international cooperation and to restore public confidence in the government.
However, social justice is a much wider reaching issue which includes access to resources, equity, diversity, participation in human rights and therefore any event or act where these conditions and rights are withheld is an act of social injustice. All across the globe we see the human impact of the refugee crisis as well as the human cost of ongoing racial inequalities and injustices, where we have disparities in access to healthcare and voting rights are all acts of social injustices. In places where we see people living in poverty or being a victim of discrimination are also forms of social injustice.
Since November 2007 when this celebration was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, the world has and is still experiencing series of acts against humanity which makes the celebration more statutory than a celebration in commemoration of practical achievements in preserving the fundamentals rights and privileges of minority groups. United States with its lengthy history of racial discrimination in various aspects of life including education, employment, housing, public accommodations and other areas has seen its Supreme Court dealt with many such cases since 2007.
In a case between Schuette, Attorney General of Michigan and Coalition to defend affirmative action, integration and immigration rights and fight for equality by any means necessary (BAMN) argued on October 15, 2013 and decided on April 22, 2014, witnessed the Michigan university board racial discriminatory process in the school’s criteria for admitting students into the university. On the 17 July 2014, Eric Garner died after he was wrestled to the ground by a New York police officer on suspicion of illegally selling cigarettes, while in a choke, Mr. Garner watched his life squeezed out of him as he uttered the words. “I can’t breathe”. Racial discrimination still lives and breathe in our world today and even the cornerstones of the world’s democracy.
The year 2020 brought a wave of discrimination and harassment allegations against major companies like Amazon, McDonald’s and Pinterest. Since 2000, 99% of Fortune 500 companies have paid settlements in at least one discrimination or sexual harassment lawsuit according to a report from Good Jobs First. Even though there are laws against pay discrimination, most Us companies on average still pay women just $0.82 for every dollar they pay men and pay women of color even lesser. In 2019, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received more than 7,500 sexual harassment complaints, and 72,000 complaints about racial, sex, age religious and other forms of discrimination.
The United States may not be the only hub of social injustices, larger parts of the African continent have minority groups persecuted and sometimes succumbed to inhuman conditions. The growing numbers of witches’ concentration camps, the rising hate against persons of the LGBTQ communities, Female genital Mutilation, Violence against women and the alienation of the rights of minority groups are worrying and have contributed to the pool of social injustices. Europe and Asia are no novel continents to social injustices. All across the globe, lives and human dignity are threatened by extremist groups in perpetuation of the medieval beliefs and norms.
While the number of social injustices continues to sprout each year, there could be hope in our efforts to reduce the influence of injustice. By providing quality and affordable education, eradicating poverty, promoting gender equality and supporting diversity in workplace we may have a chance in making keen efforts to addressing social injustices so as to create a world where human dignity is of high esteem.