Guidelines Beyond Demands for Justice

With civil unrest over social injustice unfolding in the US and violence continuing around the world, protests and a litany of...

With civil unrest over social injustice unfolding in the US and violence continuing around the world, protests and a litany of demands for justice spring forth in response.

Yet how might we emancipate people across workplaces and institutions so they might have a tangible and active role in creating peace beyond reacting to violence and injustice?

I believe we’re missing guidelines for creating more resilient cultures in the places we live, work, and play. The conversation’s missing from the public media and many of the communities I’m involved with.

This doesn’t diminish the need to demand justice, it remains significant in expressing discontent and for informing the world what people wish to see. At the same time, demands for justice can exclude people from having a meaningful role in contributing to the work that’s needed, and the aims often fragment momentum.

Consider this as a parallel metaphor: Jazz musicians often create–improvise–their own music during a performance. At the same time, they and the audience often need previously established music to frame their endeavor and meet the intended demands of the audience.

Likewise, I believe demands and guidelines remain necessary and serve a similar role in social justice. It’s a bit like envisioning a shared outcome between the musicians and the audience. In turn, the musicians both work with what already exists and create as they go along. Jazz also has its own set of guidelines for making music as you improvise–while it might not always boil down to a mission statement, musicians are able know the elements of jazz with regular practice and exploration.

It’s easy to demand better work. It’s challenging for others to meet that demand. Likewise, it’s one thing to demand social justice. It’s challenging for others who might not know what social justice means to you, and what it looks like when they’re doing it right. Movements are often inspired by visionary statements, but they require sustenance via feasible actions.

Herein stands my claim that guidelines are at this time vital, and more likely to see early action and outcomes. In the spirit of what I like to call proactivism, how can we create social justice? How might we ensure our work contributes to a more resilient, peaceful world starting with the organizations and communities we work with? To anchor those questions, I present the following as a way to focus where we might start:

1) What might guidelines for social justice look like?

2) How might we integrate and implement them into our businesses, not-for-profits, governments, and places of worship?

I’m certain many of the answers are buried somewhere (possibly here in this paper–saved for future reading, or under the framework of a “right livelihood business”). I think it’s something we’d want to see integrated into existing social certifications. I can also guess the UN and human rights organizations have plenty of declarations. Those can provide the desired “whats.” What we need most today however, are clear “hows” put into action and exercised on an operational basis.

Of course, we have every right to demand dignity and respect from ourselves and one another.

If you, your employer, or community of faith take interest and want to explore how we might make these guidelines for peace and justice a reality, please fill in the form at THIS LINK–businesses, not-for-profits, governments, higher education, and faith based institutions alike are needed and welcome.

 

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[1] http://www.bls.gov/tus/charts/chart1.pdf from http://www.bls.gov/tus/charts/#work
[2] http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/thrive/201102/finding-happiness-work from http://www.amazon.com/Happiness-Work-Maximizing-Psychological-Capital/dp/0470749466