Social Justice Interview
I interviewed Angie who is a student here at Roosevelt University as well as part of the staff. Marriage equality is one of the most important social justice issues to her. “It’s so disappointing to know that we live in a free country and are able to pretty much do anything we want, but aren’t allowed to marry the person they love,” Angie says. She defines social justice as equality for everyone. Meaning same rights and opportunities for everyone.
Angie believes that the members of a university should talk about social justice because of how important its’ significance is. Not only in Roosevelt University, but just generally speaking because social justice is a topic that addresses every single one of us. I asked Angie if she felt that social justice was practiced at Roosevelt or our society? She described Roosevelt as a especially diverse university. So much that if one who attends Roosevelt is not open minded Roosevelt shows you how to become open minded to because of its’ diversity. She feels that every student that walks through Roosevelt’s doors is evidence that this university practices social justice every single day.
Angie says she has been rather fortunate because she hasn’t been discriminated against, but has definitely witnessed social injustice. Angie believes community officials should be held responsible for creating socially just living conditions. She feels that police officers, mayors, and state representatives should be the people held most accountable because they set the expectations with rules and laws; therefore, leading with the example.
Angie feels that taking action upon what one believes is what does the most to create social justice. She says that volunteering in some event and supporting some kind of rally or protest is what truly shows support for social justice. Saying you support something doesn’t mean anything until you take action and prove your support.
I also interviewed Gerald who works in the Financial Aid Office. A social justice issue which is most important to him is the inaccessibility to wheelchairs in many buildings . Even though some people don’t see it this way, this is a form of discrimination. People with disabilities should have the same type of accessibility to everything just as any other person does.
He defines social justice in a much more political manner. He believes social justice is a society or an organization which imposes equal laws and opportunities for all of its’ citizens. Gerald says, “We haven’t yet realized or don’t often acknowledge that social justice has come a long way. We have so many privileges these days that we don’t acknowledge how fortunate we are to have the same right as the next guy. Many countries still discriminate minorities and I’m fortunate to live in a country which gives me equal opportunities. Such as getting an education, being employed, having my own property, etc.”
He thinks this is a topic that should be often spoken about because of its’ importance. Gerald thinks that our society often doesn’t preach what they say and doesn’t practice social justice because people are constantly being discriminated against in some way. However, he feels that at Roosevelt social justice is often practiced because he sees the diversity of the population every day. When I asked him if he had ever been a part social injustice or witnessed it he said yes, but preferred not to speak of such unpleasant situations.
In Gerald’s perspective we are all responsible for creating socially just living conditions. He thinks that we all need to contribute in our workplace as well as communities. “We all need to lead by example and be fair with everyone whether we agree or disagree with their way of thinking or lifestyle.” he says. Gerald feels that we can all do our part by as little as being more open minded. The smallest gestures can do the most to create social justice. Sometimes the smallest gestures can go further than any law.
The last person I interviewed was Cesar, who is also a student in his Junior year at Roosevelt. The social justice issue that is most important to him is equal education opportunities. Even though The Dream Act recently was approved in Chicago his younger sister doesn’t qualify and is unable to attend a university because she isn’t a legal resident of the United States. Cesar defines social justice as a law that confirms that everyone should be treated equally and be given the same rights and opportunities.
He thinks that members of the university as well as people in the whole country should speak of social justice simply and merely because of its value. He says that education is a very important topic and a part of social justice; therefore, everyone should find importance in it, either for themselves or the future of the United States. Cesar believes that social justice is a subject that is constantly over looked. He claims that he has no reason to say Roosevelt University doesn’t practice social justice. However, social justice is a rather vague term. If he would narrow social justice to just equal education opportunities; then when would say that Roosevelt as well as any other universities don’t practice social justice since they deny certain students the opportunity to an education because they are not legal residents.
The biggest social injustice he has ever encountered is the inequalities with education. He says he doesn’t comprehend why someone who is searching to better themselves and become educated is being denied the opportunity. In the long run his sister will only be giving back to the nation when she begins to exercise her career. Cesar feels that all who reside in the United States should be held responsible for creating social just living conditions. He feels that we all contribute to the nations’ future and we are liable. Cesar thinks that it all begins with one person. All it take is one person to make a difference by doing the right thing or the wrong thing. People do unlawful things and are unfair to others every day and all we have to do is stand up and speak for those who can’t speak for themselves to make a difference.
In conclusion, the three people I interviewed had a very similar understanding and definition for social justice. All three thought that social justice is a law that promotes equality with rights and opportunities for all of its citizens. I found it rather interesting to hear about the social justice issues that were most important to each of them. These issues clearly have affected them and touched them in such a way that as they were describing these issues; I was able to sense the concern, frustration, and disapproval for the social injustices. Something that I also found very interesting was Cesar’s perspective of social justice at Roosevelt as opposed to Angie’s and Gerald’s perspective. Both Angie and Gerald strongly believe that Roosevelt practices social justice everyday because of its diverse population, but Cesar didn’t feel this was quite enough. After interviewing these three sources, I can conclude that although they had similar view points on the meaning of social justice; they individually addressed different angles of social justice which most affected them.