By Dora Jacildo
Growing up, I was very fortunate to be surrounded by many people who helped me develop a sense of what social justice means. I had teachers who taught me the value of taking turns to ensure that everyone had a chance to participate meaningfully, a mother that was concerned with making sure that my sisters and I learned about fairness, classmates who advocated on my behalf when I didn't know how to speak English and was too emotionally overwhelmed to stand up for myself, and a community that believed that living in harmony benefitted us all.
The Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice states that "Social justice embodies the vision of a society that is equitable and in which all members are physically and psychologically safe. Social justice also demands that all people have a right to basic human dignity and to have their basic economic needs met."
Throughout my life, I have had the privilege of working alongside people who have truly embraced the principles of social justice and made it their mission to work towards the development of stable, safe, and just societies. Children Today's founders, board members, staff and supporters have all contributed to making it a social justice agency with a successful track record of addressing poverty, violence, trauma, oppression, racism, and other issues that have marginalized families.
I am so proud of the work that we do in responding to families' immediate needs, advocating for long term systems changes, and teaching the young children we serve about social justice by being a living example. Children understand fairness, they understand empathy, they know about dignity and respect. The children we serve are a lot like the child I used to be and, perhaps, because of the experience they are having in our programs today, they may choose to be the ones to continue the pursuit of social justice and working towards ensuring that all of our members achieve self-actualization and self-determination.
Editor's note: The United Nations has declared February 20th as World Day of Social Justice. To learn more, visit their website.
Various members of the Children Today staff contribute to these blog posts.