|Justice Reflections - Everyday Justice: Struggles and Possibilities|
One Marianist Volunteer's Perspective
By Cynthia Sias
For the past month, I have experienced a different form of justice. I joined the Marianist Volunteer Program and am working with the Marianist non-governmental organization (NGO) at the United Nations. The different view of justice is that of calling on governments to uphold justice for their own people, including the United States. NGOs work together to make sure that the voice of those who cannot speak for themselves is heard. Particularly, the Marianist NGO works on issues of youth, which could include working in committees on education, issues of the girl child, trafficking, status of women, youth, child rights, and if you think of the greater scope of things, any committee.
I look back in time and also think of times in which I would blame the government for so many things gone wrong. I would sign petitions and email letters to senators, representatives, and heads of state to let them know I disagree with policies they endorse. Although I continue to believe contacting our representatives is important, I also believe it is important to look at one’s own life and analyze whether we live a life that is positive, sustainable, and just. I attempt to recycle and compost, but I struggle when I look at all my possessions and my desires. When I think “I need new shoes,” I wonder, do I really need them? Or do I just want them? I have difficulty deciding when and what it is ok for me to buy.
Also, justice is not only based in our purchasing power, but in our relationships. How do I treat the person serving me at a restaurant? How do I treat the homeless I pass on the street everyday? How do I react when I see an injustice, no matter how small? Do I speak up and say something? Or do I let it pass because I am afraid and it is small? For example, for the past month, the shuttle train that stops near my apartment has stopped running due to maintenance. We are offered free shuttle bus service to the next available stop. The catch is that it only picks up and drops off in one location. My roommate and I were coming back from Manhattan and a lady noticed that the bus passed the street where she would normally get off the shuttle train. She was upset and got up to ask the bus driver what he was doing? He explained it to her, but she didn’t care what he had to say, because it seemed she was convinced she was right. So she spent an unnecessary amount of time and energy yelling at him, cursing him out, and just bring about negative energy around the bus. I didn’t do anything. But I wish I had had the courage to speak up and let her know that the bus driver was only doing his job and that he is not supposed to do what she was demanding or expecting.
My struggle with justice is one that I face every day. Although I do not have the solution, I think it is important to at least be conscious of our personal impact to humanity and the environment and make some change, no matter how small. It is important not to forget how blessed we are and to not let those blessings go about unappreciated.Andrea Stiles at 4:37 PM