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As the poet John Donne explained some hundreds of years ago, “No man is an island, entire of itself.” We live in a society of interdependent individuals, families and communities; each has its victims, each success its victors … and losers. Just like in a family, when we respect only our rights without fulfilling our responsibilities, that family grows a little poorer. Social justice is an idea that comes from the notion of a social contract: that because no man or woman is an island, we each have both rights and responsibilities. Unfortunately, while rights are often easily expressed in law, it is not always so simple to do the same with responsibilities.
This is why it is important to think about what social justice means. For while we are not compelled to act for greater social justice, the social contract – and therefore a safe, happy and functioning society – demands it of us.
Ultimately, the end goal of social justice is a fairer society. It’s about ensuring that each of us, as equals, gets our fair share; our fair share of both burdens and opportunities. Rather than just satisfying the law, social justice asks us to satisfy needs. Thus social justice is an idea which, when put into action, serves not just human rights but human needs.
We at Arizona Foundation for Social Justice Children and Youth Services are called to take risks. And, yes, sometimes even cross those societal boundaries. To heal those hurting we need to reach out to those deemed by society as “unclean.” We are called to look beyond the immediate need into the societal issues that underlie the need. We are called to question the current way of doing things and look for better alternatives.
Arizona Foundation for Social Justice Children and Youth Services is advancing its vision for evolving the New American Social Services with an institutional commitment to social embeddedness as a core tenet. We, at AFSJ-CYS recognize our responsibility to facilitate a better quality of life for all Arizonans.
I am excited to report that AFSJ-CYS is working to do all of these things and bring healing to our community through: the four societal needs of Hunger, Housing, Healing and Hope.
Challenging the old way of doing things is risky behavior. It’s hard work.
I hope I can to count on your support as together we address and advocate for our Children, Youth and Families. As we all continue to live in the midst of economic recovery you know the challenges those living on the edge or the margins of society are facing. As advocates for the least, the last, the lost, and the little we have a responsibility to work to support change and to demonstrate the love of our neighbor.