Why it should matter to you
In order to live in a peaceful world, there must be social justice. As of right now, there is a definite lack of it. Lately, however, it has become evident that there are millions of people who are trying to change that. So what exactly is social justice, and why is there a whole day dedicated to it? We decided to uncover the story behind the day and why it is so important to each and every person around the world.
It all started at the World Summit for Social Development, which was held in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1995. As a result of this meeting, the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action was born. The summit drew in more than 100 political leaders, all of whom pledged to eliminate poverty, strive for full employment and achieve safe and stable societies for people everywhere. They also agreed on the need to put the people at the center of future development plans.
In New York, nearly 10 years later in February of 2005, the United Nations’ (U.N.) member states once again reviewed the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action. The session, called the Commission for Social Development, led the members to agree to commit to advancing social development. Two years later, on Nov. 26, 2007, the U.N. General Assembly named Feb. 20 as the annual World Day of Social Justice.
Every year on Feb. 20, the World Day of Social Justice presents an opportunity to support the ongoing global efforts of nations far and wide to eliminate poverty; support full employment and acceptable work; and achieve gender equality and social well-being for all. In order to achieve social justice worldwide, people need to be empowered to remove the barriers that separate people of all genders, ages, religions, disabilities, ethnicities and cultures.
The U.N., International Labour Office and other organizations strive to spread awareness of social justice. Many organizations also present plans for better, more improved social justice by finding new ways to abolish social and economic exclusion, poverty and unemployment. Trade unions and campaign groups are often asked to invite their supporters to partake in events surrounding the day.
Many schools, including colleges and universities, plan events and activities for World Day of Social Justice. Fundraisers, peaceful protests and informational sessions are all widely seen during the week of Feb. 20.
In order to make a change in the world, someone, somewhere has to step up. If you’re interested in getting involved or learning more about World Day of Social Justice, visit un.org for frequent updates and news.
Taylor Downs is a senior professional writing major from Kalamazoo, Mich. You will almost always find her with coffee in one hand or hyperventilating at Sephora. She loves going out to eat, indulging in TV reruns and spending time with her family and friends.