February 20, 2019 marks the United Nations’ tenth annual World Day of Social Justice. The concept of “social justice” can have many definitions, but at its core, social justice is the view that all people deserve to enjoy the same rights and opportunities, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, and/or other characteristics.
The concept of social justice is encapsulated in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR):
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
Here at Woven Teaching, we are passionate about issues of social justice and protecting all rights enshrined in the UDHR. This year, we would like to celebrate World Day of Social Justice by sharing some of the issues and movements that are important to us as individuals.
LoveDia Doss, Content Manager
In honor of World Day of Social Justice I would like to bring attention to the use of solitary confinement as punishment in U.S. correctional systems. The 8th Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the accused and convicted of being subject to cruel and unusual punishment. To many, solitary confinement is considered to be torture; however, it continues to be used as the main form of punishment within prison and jail walls.
To learn more about the movement to end solitary confinement, visit Together to End Solitary, a grassroots organization calling for an end to this form of cruel and unusual punishment.
Nina Grotch, Executive Director
In honor of World Day of Social Justice, I would like to bring attention to the stigma faced by menstruating women throughout the globe. The toll that menstruation takes on women around the world ranges from missing school (due to pain or lack of sanitary products) to being temporarily shunned by their communities and forced into isolation. Women miss work because they do not have access to hygiene products and/or clean water and toilets in the workplace. Even though half of the world’s population menstruates, women still suffer from misinformation, stigma, and lack of safe, clean water and sanitary products. Period rights are human rights.
To learn more about the movement to destigmatize menstruation, read the recent report by WoMena, a non-governmental organization that researches reproductive health issues.
Nikki Bambauer, Director of Operations
In honor of World Day of Social Justice, I would like to bring attention to the recent genocide of the Rohingya in Myanmar/Burma. The Rohingya are a predominantly Muslim group living in the country’s coastal Rakhine State which has faced discrimination for decades; however, this discrimination recently turned genocidal. Beginning in 2016 and escalating heavily in August 2017, the Burmese military has performed “clearance operations,” campaigns to systematically destroy Rohingya villages, kill tens of thousands of people, and subject thousands of women and girls to sexual assault. As a result of these operations, more than 700,000 Rohingya have fled the country into neighboring Bangladesh.
To learn more about genocide against the Rohingya, check out “They Gave Them Long Swords,” a report by NGO Fortify Rights detailing coordinated attacks in northern Rakhine State.
Shivani Banfal, Director of Development
In honor of World Day of Social Justice, I would like to bring attention to healthcare inequality. As someone whose everyday life is affected by health issues, I believe it is necessary that we start educating our youth on the hidden health inequality in the United States. Most young Americans will not have any understanding of health/healthcare or how it relates to them until an accident or health scare impacts them or someone they know. An organization working to change this is Health Leads. Health Leads believes that a different kind of healthcare system is possible for America – one that addresses all patients’ basic needs as a standard part of quality care. If we can start a conversation with our students on the multiple factors that affect health and life expectancy, including income, education, occupation, and race/ethnicity, real change could come about.
To learn more about Health Leads and its important work, visit their website.
What are the issues that you and your students care deeply about? How would you and your class complete the following?:
In honor of World Day of Social Justice, I would like to…
By including discussions of social issues in your classroom, you can help ensure that future generations work towards social justice and a truly equitable world.