Friday, February 06, 2015

One Thousand Bloggers to Write about Compassion and Social Justice on February 20

Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants. We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.  

Eight years ago, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed February 20 as World Day of Social Justice.  In issuing this declaration, the UN invited all member states to promote national activities in accordance with the objectives and goals of the World Summit for Social Development, whose guiding principle is to put people at the center of development. The International Labor Organization (ILO), working with the UN, has taken this principle a step further, developing the link between the rights of workers and communities with the increasing trend toward globalization.  In June 2008, the ILO released the Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization.

The World Day of Social Justice has also given a group of bloggers an opportunity to come together on a single to post a piece about compassion. One Facebook group called 1000 Voices for Compassion has recruited 1000 bloggers to write posts about compassion, kindness, support, caring for others, non-judgement, care for the environment and other similar issues exactly two weeks from today. The number 1,000 is a target, not a limit. As of February 6, 1,107 people (including yours truly) had signed up for the group.  This means there could be 1,107 blog posts with the Twitter and Facebook hashtag #1000Speak on that day. 1000 Voices for Compassion also has a Facebook Page.
We do not often seem to think of social justice and compassion as compatible. Our thoughts about social justice are often about righting a wrong or fighting inequality. Those actions are often identified with angry protests by the oppressed and those who advocate for the oppressed against an oppressive economic system. February 20 is not about protests (even though they are certainly justified in most cases). By setting aside our anger about global inequalities (at least for a day), we are best able to enter into dialogue about the principles that should underlie economic and social relations within each country and among countries.

Here is a quote from the ILO's Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization.
The Declaration provides leaders and decision-makers with a balanced approach that connects with people and productive solutions at home, while also offering a common platform for governance at the international level. It contributes to policy co- herence for sustainable development in national policies, among international organizations and in development cooperation, bringing together social, economic and environmental object- ives. In this regard, it highlights that international and regional organizations with mandates in closely related fi elds can play an important role in the implementation of the integrated approach required and invites them to promote decent work. 

Stay tuned for 1,000 or more blog posts about compassion on February 20.

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