WHAT IS SOCIAL JUSTICE?
Social justice is an all-encompassing term that offers many definitions and vastly different interpretations.
Many people across the globe observe the World Day of Social Justice on February 20th. This is an opportunity to broadcast what social justice means, and in the process, inspire everyone to show concern for, as Jesus said, “the least of my brothers”.
Social justice has its biblical roots in a God who time and time again shows his love and compassion for the weak, the vulnerable, the marginalized, and so forth. Being involved in social justice for the benefit of the poor and oppressed is a sign of submitting to the will of God.”
The word “justice” means “to make right.” Justice is people living in relationship with God, with one another, and with creation. It means loving our neighbour as we love ourselves. God is just and loving, and we should therefore be also just and live in love.
Social justice is about who we serve. Social justice should take into consideration “human dignity” and “human life”. Social justice is based on God’s love and justice.
This coming February 20th let`s plan to have a campaign to publicize the World Day of Social Justice and engage as many people as possible in looking after the welfare of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Western Region Social Justice Chair
SENIORS AND HOMELESSNESS
Homelessness is when an individual or family find themselves without affordable, permanent, appropriate housing, or the ability of acquiring it.
There are many factors that can cause homelessness among the senior population, such as,
Poverty – Insufficient income.
Isolation – Death of a spouse, social isolation.
Illness – Medical bills or even mental illness.
Homelessness for seniors can also increase because of discrimination or lack of knowledge about the availability of services. However, the main cause of homelessness for seniors is lack of financial resources. Seniors that do not have the financial means to afford housing may end up living on the street.
Mental illness can also be a huge factor in causing homelessness among the senior population. Psychologically, seniors that suffer from mental illness, Alzheimer’s as an example, are sometimes incapable of applying for the various benefits to which they are entitled to receive.
A lot of the homeless seniors are also veterans. The experiences they have lived abroad, when fighting for our freedom, take their toll psychologically, leading to mental health disorders, to substance abuse, and to physical handicaps that often make what we call a normal life virtually impossible.
Vincentians can also become homeless as they age or their social circumstances change, as in the loss of a spouse. As we have seen with the appearance of the COVID-19 virus, anyone’s life plans can change instantly.
Homeless people, especially seniors, are also more vulnerable to violence, sexual attacks. When someone finds him/herself homeless suddenly, and they do not have the street smarts to navigate this new life, they can fall victim of predators and even lose their life.
We keep talking about Social Justice! Well, this is a critical Social Justice issue. We, as humans, as Vincentians, as brothers and sisters, need to work together to try and make a difference in resolving this particular Social Justice issue.
In my view, the first thing we all need to do is educate ourselves and our members on the issue of HOMELESSNESS. If we think about it, I, for one, do not know a lot about it. To make a difference in the area of being homeless, we need to know about homelessness and how to bring about solutions to this challenging issue.
Then, we can be of real help to our homeless sisters, brothers, and family members.
Maria Lupul, Chair
Western Region Social Justice Committee