Children and Injustice

While many may not realize it consciously, injustice is viscerally felt by everyone in the society where injustice is occurring. We are all devastated by the continuing revelations about the deplorable conditions of the concentration camps at our southern border. This hurts so much more because it involves children.

Native people consider children to be sacred beings. Wakanyeja, pronounced WAH-KUH-AY-JA, is Lakota for “sacred little ones”

I wonder how the young people I met last week in a cold, crumbling school building in a poor village in Georgia understand or experience social justice. They spoke of loneliness; a lack of love and emotional attachment with their families; being afraid of speaking up; being labelled and detached from society; a poor physical environment; financial and health problems and poor educational opportunities.

At the heart of children’s vulnerabilities lie the more intangible relational, identity and protection issues that shape their daily lives and experience of social justice.

Understanding how children experience injustice, World Vision

Many of us have contacted our Congressional representatives but Congress is dysfunctional. It is hopeful to hear the reports of the exposure of more of what is happening in the camps from yesterday’s visit by members of Congress.

Today many of us will demonstrate in public, at Congressional offices, hoping to create change.

I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their “thus saith the Lord” far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city’s white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.

Rev Martin Luther King, Jr. Letter from a Birmingham Jail

A society cannot long exist without truth which is the bedrock of justice, it cannot long live a lie. In the final analysis the Social Contract is both a perception and a belief. When the substance of life in a society as it is lived is perceived to fail our natural expectations of truth and justice, our belief in the social contract is betrayed and cynicism follows. With that cynicism, the commitment to the commons is undermined and ultimately destroyed. When the social contract becomes everyone for themselves with all which that entails a civil society no longer exists.

The Social Consequences of Injustice by Emanuele Corso, Nation of Change, February 16, 2016

The following can be downloaded here:

As the following photos show, children also agitate for justice. The last photos are from the Children’s March in Birmingham in 1963. I would encourage you to speak with young people today.

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