When I think of social justice, I think of the brave individuals that crossed the bridge in Selma to further their rights as American citizens. They were ridiculed, spit upon, and sneered at by many of their fellow citizens who did not want to share their privileges with them. They were beaten and sometimes killed by the police that were paid to protect the citizens of this nation. Were these individuals not citizens too? Had they not been asking for the right to vote and to go to good schools for years, only to be denied this constitutionally guaranteed right? Were they not asking for “social justice?” At what point would it be acceptable for them to cross a bridge to cry out for justice?
When I think of social justice, I think of the women’s suffrage movement that began in the 1840’s and did not end until 1920 when women were finally recognized to have the right to vote. In 1916 the National Women’s Party was a militant group focused on the passage of a national suffrage amendment. Over 200 supporters were arrested in 1917 while picketing the White House. Some went on hunger strikes and were force fed. These brave women endured degradation and deprivation to establish their rights of equality with men. This right was not granted to them because they said, “pretty please, may I vote?”