Are you a fierce warrior of social justice with Viking braids and a sword of change sharp enough to cut through the tightest binds of inequality and oppression? Do you believe in peace, equality and harmonious co-existence for all? Do you have a great passion for a particular movement or cause, but are unsure of your place to make a difference? Then my friends, pencil February 20th into your calendar for World Day of Social Justice. February 20th is the day proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly as a day of observance for social justice, to address plans to tackle economic and social disadvantage, poverty, gender and sexual discrimination and unemployment.
Through my upbringing and education, I have always been encouraged to consider how I can use my gifts and privilege to effect social change for the better. The idea of changing the world is a big one and its a daunting one, but I’ve reached the philosophy that the greatest change you can make starts in your corner of the world.
As I slowly edge towards the end of my Law/Psychology degree (at a 100 year old tortoise pace – but edging none the less), I’ve started to think about how I can use my gift of a legal education to make the most amount of difference in my career. The legal profession has a reputation as being one of the most demanding and stressful professions to work in. So I figure, if I’m going to spend my legal career working my butt off, it may as well be for a cause that I am deeply passionate about were I can find real meaning and value in my work. I see my legal studies as an advocacy tool for safety and justice for groups who experience challenges accessing the legal system, particularly vulnerable women.
Over the past year I have had the opportunity to volunteer as a legal student with Pine Rivers Community Legal Service and Women’s Legal Service Queensland. Through working with these organisations I have gained a front line understanding of the tragic prevalence of domestic and family violence that hides within our communities. I have also gained perspective on how I’d like to use my future legal career for greater good – empowering women in instances of family and domestic violence. Volunteering with legal organisations that share my passion for social justice (such as Women’s Legal Service and Pine Rivers Legal Service) has been a strong compliment to my legal studies, and priceless opportunity to make some change, however small, to bettering the justice outcomes for vulnerable people in my community.
This 20th of February, I encourage you to consider what gifts you can contribute? Maybe you have certain skills (not of the Liam Neeson ‘Taken’ kind), or you have too many clothes, or you are fit and able bodied for manual labor, or if you have had particular experience to impart on others.
Consider your gifts, and consider how you can use them to make change in your corner of the world.