We all should fight for social justice

This editorial column written by Maria McCoy previously appeared in a print edition of The GRIP.

Why do the problems of social justice and reform belong to us all? After visiting the Civil Rights museum in Atlanta this weekend, I read a quote that really struck a chord.

“First, they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out- because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out- because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out- because I was not a Jew. Then they came from me-and there was no one left to speak for me,” said Martin Neimoller.

We have a duty to each other to speak out on the injustices we see and the ones we hear about. We live in a time when it is incredibly simple to look the other way because whatever is happening doesn’t concern us. Maybe it is easy to refuse to believe that racism still exists because we do not want to see it or believe it, and maybe it’s because we are white.

Maybe it is easy to believe that owning high powered rifles is okay because it wasn’t our child and it wasn’t our school.

Maybe it is easy to believe that deporting mothers and fathers is more important than finding a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants, because we are not illegal immigrants, and we are not being separated from our children or parents.

Maybe it is easy to believe that cutting social welfare programs is more beneficial than providing food benefits for millions of low income families because we aren’t a low-income family.

Maybe it is easy to believe that killing innocent babies in utero doesn’t really matter because they aren’t our babies.

You can draw a line in the sand and see which political party agrees with the individual issues stated above, but that is not what is important. Political parties do not matter in 2018. These aren’t party issues. These are human issues.

We cannot continue to see the suffering of our fellow man while quoting the infamous “thoughts and prayers,” but never truly acting on the issue. Thoughts and prayers are only as good as the action you put behind them.

How many times have you said, “We’re praying for you,” without ever praying? Stop it now. I am a Christian and I frequently pray, so do not think I am maligning anyone who prays. What I am saying is that many times we tell ourselves that praying is enough. If saying one prayer that one time was enough, the Bible wouldn’t tell us to pray without ceasing.

You have the ability to act.

We have the ability to make this world a better place – one by one, and then again, collectively.

Quit thinking about your religion and your political party and your race and your wealth and all of those other factors that tell you what to think and how to think. Start thinking about what you can do to help humanity. Start paying attention to the suffering going on around you because today the suffering belongs to someone in another country, but tomorrow the suffering belongs to you.

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