"We write because we believe it will matter.
We write to access our own power .
We write to help others access their power." –Write on! Writing for Social Justice
Social justice—the idea that everyone in society, regardless of identity, has an equal chance at wealth, opportunity , and privilege. What does it have to do with writing? Well, the key to achieving social justice is by creating awareness to be used in breaking down the current barriers in society. So how can you do that? What tools can you use? Your words, of course.
The role of a writer, creative or otherwise, is important when it comes to bringing awareness and educating readers about social justice. At first, it seems impossible. How can just one person change the outcome of so many? How can the writing of one person with different experiences help others that do not share the same background?
It is not just the individual effort, but the individual effort of many than can help bring awareness to the social injustices of our world. Our words have the power to impact whole communities. We can see this effect in the use of social media round the world, even in countries where the people are heavily censored. People in Syria and other countries have taken to social media to tell the world of the injustices they have experienced and bring awareness to their struggles. The people for Ferguson, Missouri are doing the same right now. People are reading these words and making changes in the hope that these injustices are not repeated.
Words are ideas made concrete, and the power of an idea is immeasurable. We can use our craft to share, educate, and change the minds of those who may not know the damage they do in a world with institutionalized social injustice. As writers, we love our words and we want to share them with others. Writing for social justice is a way to share our words with others in a way that can positively impact and change our society.
Examples and Resources:
· Women Write Resistance! Poets Resist Gender Violence, edited by Laura Madeline Wiseman
· Write on! Writing for Social Justice, created by members of a NYCoRE Inquiry Action Group
· Reading, Writing, and Rising Up: Teaching About Social Justice and the Power of the Written Word, by Linda Christensen
· Power, Resistance and Literacy: Writing for Social Justice, by Julie Gorlewski