In a world that is filled with so much hatred, despair, war, pain, grief, judgment and anger, there is one remaining commonality to keep our society from falling apart: hope for a better tomorrow.
Within the past month, two people have been killed, their deaths prompting us to reflect on the search for justice. One was consciously fighting for justice, while the death of the other has caused many to speak out.
In Ferguson, the death of Michael Brown at first brought rioting but since then has prompted many people to step up with regard to racial justice.
He may have been jaywalking and then he also could have very well stolen those cigars from the convenience store, but what actions justify shooting and killing an unarmed 18-year old?
We will never know what exactly happened because while one man is trying to justify his own guilt and actions, the other, Michael Brown, cannot share his side of the story.
His death, however, has prompted many reflections about justice. In order to make a change in our world, you have to make a stand. The people in Ferguson and elsewhere continuously stand every morning until their eyes close remain dedicated to the change they wish to see. Brown’s family, friends and people all over the nation have remained persistent in their fight for justice for someone who will never be able to fight again for himself.
This fight for justice is not a fight that is not easily won.
Our education systems, homelessness both in our backyard and overseas and the constant attacks and murders that go on every single day in America, they are all injustices that thankfully have people who will speak out for the creation of a better, more just world.
In another part of the world, we have the example of the brutal slaying of James Foley who risked his life trying to make a difference in the world. He was a journalist who was killed reporting the truth. He was a man who went to college, who worked hard at his career and who worked every day to better the lives of others. He wanted to make that change, to speak up for those whose voices were not heard under the fire of machine guns and explosions from bombs. Because of this he was captured and beheaded when the United States refused to give ISIS the money they were looking for.
Foley wanted to tell the truth of what is continuously going on in the Middle East with ISIS and may he rest in peace as he was unable to finish what he set out to do. But along the way he fought, as a proud American, for freedom of speech and justice for all, an essential piece of our constitution that is sometimes forgotten.
Being on the right side of history, doing the right thing in the name of a better world, is what each student, parent, professor, humanitarian in our world should strive to do every day, even when that means risking your life, living in fear or doubting yourself.
Cabrini College’s mission is dedicated to academic excellence, leadership development and a commitment to social justice. Our students are taught from the moment they begin their studies until they are handed their diploma, that social justice is extremely important because everything in our lives is interconnected. This interconnectedness is what allows the injustices to be so complex and confusing, but that’s why there are people like the leaders in our society, to explain what is going on in our world. This is something that does not come easy or instantaneously. It is something that takes time, dedication and commitment to constantly stand up for what you believe in. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
In this year’s summer reading at Cabrini College, “Almost Home,” Corey Booker, the mayor of Newark, N.J., expresses his own frustrations with the slow progress towards justice. “So often we allow our inability to do the big things to undermine our determination to do the small things, those acts of kindness, decency, and love that in their aggregate over days, weeks, and years make powerful change.”