2 SOCIAL JUSTICE AT STORYTIME communal action in support of restorative justice and the full imple- mentation of human and civil rights (Terminology—John Lewis Institute for Social Justice, 2022). From a human rights perspective, social justice means that human rights are respected and protected in order to live a life free of degradation and intimidation without institutional obstacles and discrimination being a hindrance to excelling in life. In all of these interpretations of what social justice is, the common denominator is fair rights and opportunities for people who are disempowered, ignored, or overlooked—marginalized people. Therefore, while social justice is centered around rights for all in various communities and groups, it explicitly focuses on marginalized groups in society. The focus is specifically on marginalized groups and communities because they experience discrimination and exclusion. A marginalized group has a much harder time accessing basic services or opportunities because of unequal power and relationships across eco- nomic, political, social, and cultural dimensions (Glossary of Essential Health Equity Terms, 2022). To fully understand the concept of social jus- tice, organizations have begun to look at its history and how a wide range of disparities have impacted society in the past. We will delve into this his- tory a little more in the next chapter. In the meantime, in looking at what social justice is, we have to acknowledge that social injustices can occur in connection with practically any aspect of society where inequities can arise as a result of unjust prejudices or policies. These prejudices can be against race, gender, age, religion, nationality, class, abilities, sexual orientation, religion, and more. Whether a movement, a tool, a concept, or a doctrine, when defining social justice, all these identify three common principles: 1. Equal rights 2. Equitable opportunity 3. Fair treatment These principles are designed to ensure fair distribution of available resources and to ensure that people have access to services and goods no matter their ethnicity, age, gender, race, economic status, or cultural group. These principles also enable people to participate in decisions that impact their lives as well as protect the individual’s freedom to access information. This participation affords them the opportunity to speak up about deci- sions that impact their lives to bring about change. Social justice attempts
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