We can’t achieve social value without achieving social justice

The following blog was written by Social Value International and Social Value UK’s Communication and Campaigns Manager, David Thomas. Social Value International will continue to highlight the need to achieve social justice, equality and end all forms of discrimination. 

Social justice is central to the social value movement, and now more than ever it’s vital that we as a community stand up for social justice, equality and human rights.

To say the last few weeks have been difficult for our planet would be an understatement, to be honest, stating the last year’s been difficult would be too. For many of us, we have been marking a year or more since the pandemic tore our normality apart and now, as we find ourselves entering year two of a pandemic that has taken over two million lives and destroyed countless more, we face future in an uncertain world that ever increasingly we must change for the better. 

Social justice has come into the spotlight, as it has many times before in human history, and we owe it to us and all future generations to not let this moment escape from us. 

This week marked the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. A day founded in memory of March 21st 1960 when police killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid “pass laws” in Sharpeville, South Africa. These laws were intended to prevent the freedom of movement of Black people within the country.

51 years on, headlines are alarmingly similar in nature. From the numerous murders of unarmed Black citizens at the hands of law enforcement to the horrific murder of 8 people, including 6 Asian women, in Atlanta, Georgia last week. We’re in a cycle of abuse of power globally and we have to do what we can to end this for good. 

It is clear the mission to eliminate inequality cannot happen without addressing the massive problem of white supremacy, misogyny and its deep-rooted grip on all facets of the societies we live in. Social Value International stands to increase equality and wellbeing worldwide, a mission which we know that we must achieve to create a fair and just world for all.

This week also marked the International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims. This day pays tribute to the memory of Monsignor Óscar Arnulfo Romero, murdered on 24 March 1980. Monsignor Romero was actively engaged in denouncing violations of the human rights of the most vulnerable individuals in El Salvador.

In the UK, conversations around the ability to access truth, to fight for justice and rights have been continually discussed throughout March. 

Recently, Sarah Everard was abducted and later murdered by a police officer, whilst walking home in Clapham, London. The public loudly decried the violence against women and the brutality of the police online, in the press and in person. Later, a peaceful vigil for Sarah in Clapham Common turned violent when police officers claimed it violated COVID-19 restrictions, arresting many of the women present. 

Days later, Members of Parliament voted on a Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, and allowed it to pass its first reading, despite major concern from commentators, charities and organisations nationwide, of its restriction on the right to protest. There are still many more steps before this becomes law, but it is a low moment for the UK in its protections of public interest, protest and truth. In this country’s protection of its own citizens, when defacing a statue may soon carry a maximum of a 10-year term in prison, when rape convictions only start at 5. 

Lady Shami Chakrabarti, former Shadow Attorney General for England and Wales commented thatThis brutal reaction to the women who gathered to remember her [Sarah Everard] was presided over by the first female Metropolitan police commissioner and the fourth female home secretary is a bitter feminist irony. It should be a reminder that we need to change how the system works, not just the faces that govern it.’

And for us at Social Value International, and for our global community – this is what we must do. As organisations and individuals, we need to ensure progress for all people, allow global liberties to flourish, and make the world a safer place for us, our loved ones and all people. And whilst every day, every news cycle reminds us that we’re fighting an uphill battle, we must remind ourselves there is not any choice but to stand, for we must if we want to see an equitable world a reality. For many people, the fight for change, human rights, and social justice is necessary for safety and survival, and therefore it is our collective responsibility to stand, work and demand a more just and equitable world each and every day.

Whilst great strides have been made in social value thinking and application in recent years, our work in social value and beyond is not finished, not even close. We must recognise the distance we have to go, we must recognise the power many of us hold in our careers, communities and in the privilege we possess and utilise it to change the world as soon as possible, to eradicate the concept of inequality – forever.

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