“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.”Cornel West
Justice is an enormous concept and I believe that for many of us, it’s the backbone of a whole, healthy, functional humanity. We only need to look down the street to see that injustice is everywhere, yet even when we come together and stand for the things that matter, justice gets bent and our societies hobble in their attempts to move forward.
As I reflect here, I have been dwelling on an interesting thought; if justice is largely the fairness in the way people are dealt with, then maybe justice is birthed out of the fairness with which we manage ourselves. Maybe, in our noble quests for justice at large, it is worth considering the impact of our smaller, personal responsibilities.
While justice is the backbone of our humanity, it is only when all parts of the body are playing their part in working together that creates strength in our societies. Likewise, where you and I may be the hands and feet of our communities, we have a role to play and justice pleas for our contribution. Without which, the formation of a civilisation that stands stall and moves forward with strength and ease becomes disabled.
The deep call of justice is big, but I believe that our contributions start small, swirling in our everyday integrities. They begin in the way we nurture our thinking and evolve in the way we allow those thoughts to settle into the attitudes of our hearts.
It is out of our ordinary coming and going that justice is birthed and to see it strengthen our culture, our desires for justice at large must be coupled with our slighter accountabilities.
Imagine, if there is a desire within you to be a voice for the voiceless, is there also a desire to use that voice to thank the cleaner in the public bathroom if you happen to see them while you’re in there? Or, if there is a desire within you to march in peaceful protest to stand up for the oppressed, is there also a desire to pick up the tumbling take-away cup off the street as you march past it and place it in the next available bin? Even more compelling, if there were no public bins available, what would you do with that disposable cup? Would your desire for big justice persuade you to carry that little cup, all the way with you, to be recycled in your bin at home? How deep are you willing to go to reach the heights of justice?
Justice, as I have once heard it expressed, is a radical, selfless way of life. I can’t write this and say that I’ve got this sorted in my own life, but I do know that I have much to reconsider, especially in my daily contributions to justice overall.
I believe that a good place to start is to ask ourselves; that if we are to stand up for the things that matter so that we can make a difference, should we not first be doing the things that make a difference because that is what matters?
Great questions, Jo-Anne. Your tumbling coffee cup analogy is quite thought-provoking.