Justice

I'm inspired by these quotes about social justice and equity and the ongoing struggle - war - for basic human rights.

Being born in the elite in the U.S. gives you a constellation of privileges that very few people in the world have ever experienced. Being born poor in the U.S. gives you disadvantages unlike anything in Western Europe and Japan and Canada. (David I. Levine, economist, University of California, Berkeley, May 2005)

Being white and being male involve privilege: 'an invisible package of unearned assets.' People who recognize discrimination against others may have trouble recognizing that they have unearned privilege. They are taught not to recognize that they have it…People benefit from privilege even if they aren't individually racist or sexist. (Peggy McIntosh, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”)

Cautious, careful people always casting about to preserve their reputations…can never bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world's estimation, and publicly avow their sympathies with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences. (Susan B. Anthony)

Charity is good, but supporting and creating social change are about power. Power can infuse lives with purpose and dignity. That opens up the possibility of joy. The life of the giver, as well as that of the receiver, is transformed…No matter who we are, no matter how much money we have, whatever our color, gender, age, religion, or language, we can bring change to the world around us. We can open our minds, roll up our sleeves, and reach out our hands. (Alfre Woodard, Robin Hood Was Right)

Creating social change is exciting. It’s proof that we are alive and thinking. What could be better than to work for a future where fairness is the bottom line? (Alfre Woodward, Robin Hood Was Right)

Democracy is not our government, our constitution, our legal structure. Too often they are enemies of democracy. Certainly this was the experience of African-Americans in this country for two hundred years. With the government failing to enforce the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, black men, women and children decided to do that on their own. They organized, demonstrated, protested, challenged the law, were beaten, went to prison, some killed – and thereby reached the conscience of the nation and the world. And things changed. That's when democracy comes alive. (Howard Zinn, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train)

Giving isn't a posture reserved for the rich or powerful. It is the responsibility and privilege of every man, woman, and child to participate in the task of building more just and humane societies. (Alfre Woodard, Robin Hood Was Right)

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. (George Bernard Shaw)

If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening…This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. (Frederick Douglass)

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. (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Let’s say it was 24 hours before you were born, and a genie appeared and said: What I’m going to do is let you set the rules of the society into which you will be born. You can set the economic rules and the social rules, and whatever rules you set will apply during your lifetime and your children’s lifetimes and even the lifetimes of your grandchildren. And you’ll say, Well, that’s great. I get to define what kind of world I want to live in. But you’re smart too. You ask: What’s the catch? And the genie says, Here’s the catch. You don’t know if you’re going to be born poor or rich, black or white, female or male, infirm or able-bodied, homosexual or heterosexual, retarded or intelligent. Now what rules do you want to have? (From John Rawls, A Theory of Justice, 1971. As told by Warren Buffet and modified by Joyaux)

Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropists to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice that make philanthropy necessary. (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Progressive philanthropy strives to fund work that is proactive rather than reactive. Progressive philanthropy…challenges the assumptions that economic and social inequities are somehow unavoidable as the price of progress or prosperity. (Tracy Gary and Melissa Kohner, Inspired Philanthropy: Creating A Giving Plan)

Small acts of resistance to authority, if persisted in, may lead to large social movements…ordinary people are capable of extraordinary acts of courage…those in power who confidently say 'never' to the possibility of change may live to be embarrassed by those words…the world of social struggle is full of surprises, as the common moral sense of people germinates invisibly, bubbles up, and at certain points in history brings about victories that may be small, but carry large promise. (Howard Zinn, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train)

So our challenge is to commit ourselves to creating the tipping point and the turning point. The time is ripe to launch a unified national movement, a campaign, a tidal wave, built around issues and values, not candidates. (Jane Fonda, National Women's Leadership Summit, Washington, D.C., 06-12-03, sponsored by)

Social movements may have many 'defeats' – failing to achieve objectives in the short run – but in the course of the struggle the strength of the old order begins to erode, the minds of people begin to change; the protesters are momentarily defeated but not crushed, and have been lifted, heartened, by their ability to fight back. (Howard Zinn, You Can't Remain Neutral on a Moving Train)

Sometimes to be Silent is to Lie. (Miguel Unamuno, philosopher, speaking about the Spanish Civil War. Zinn quotes this about Vietnam.)

The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory. (Howard Zinn, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train)

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. (Franklin Delano Roosevelt)

There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment we will continue to see…The bad things that happen are repetitions of bad things that have always happened – war, racism, maltreatment of women, religious and nationalist fanaticism, starvation. The good things that happen are unexpected. (Howard Zinn, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train)

There is nothing so unequal as the equal treatment of unequals. (Dr. Paul F. Brandwein, attributed to a teacher of his.)

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice. But there must never be a time when we fail to protest. (Father Dan Berrigan)

This is the oldest story in America: the struggle to determine whether ‘we, the people’ is a spiritual idea embedded in a political realty – one nation, indivisible – or merely a charade masquerading as piety and manipulated by the powerful and privileged to sustain their own way of life at the expense of others. (Bill Moyers: The Progressive Story of America, Friday, June 13, 2003, Take Back America Conference)

We have learned to create small exceptions that can change the lives of hundreds. But we have not learned how to make the exceptions the rule to change the lives of millions. (Lisbeth Schorr, Common Purpose)

We’d best restate what civil rights mean: the recognition that racial discrimination played a central role in the development of this nation [U. S.] and its institutions; the understanding that past discrimination resonates in the present; the acknowledgement that millions of Americans, a disproportionate share of them black or Latino, endure persistent poverty and in isolation from mainstream opportunity, and in conditions too brutal and pervasive for them to easily overcome solely on their own; the clearsighted conclusion that we’ve got far to go before there’s equal opportunity in America. And we’d better recognize what civil rights is not: an unregulated ?free’ market or shaming fingers pointed at racial minorities and the poor. (Susan Eaton, The Nation magazine, 01-10-17, 2005)

What had seemed fixed could change, what had seemed immovable could change. (Howard Zinn, You Can't Remain Neutral on a Moving Train)

There are some situations one simply cannot be neutral about, because when you are neutral you are an accomplice. Objectivity doesn't mean treating all sides equally. It means giving each side a hearing. (Christiane Amanpour, Journalist)

Simone Joyaux, ACFRE, Adv Dip, FAFP, is an internationally recognized expert in fund development, board and organizational development, strategic planning, and management.

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