When people imagine the United States they typically picture freedom and justice for all. Unfortunately, those people are extremely ignorant to the truth about America. There are many people living in the United States that lack any social justice.
The Heritage Foundation has a series of six videos all of which describe programs designed to alleviate social justice. By the time I had made it through all of the videos, I was in shock that I live in a country that prides itself on being welcoming and gracious to all when in reality people suffer from lack of social justice everywhere. The fact that The Heritage Foundation is able to create six videos that talk about programs seeking social justice for Americans illustrates quite strongly how severe the problem of social injustice really is. If there was social justice there wouldn't be a need for the programs.
The Universal Doctrine of Human Rights states, "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood" (United Nations, 2013).
Yet, in Orange County, California a nine year old can be forced into slavery. One of The Heritage Foundations' lessons described the role of government in social justice - a topic that becomes very polarized each election season - by telling the story of Shyima. When Shyima was nine years old her parents in Egypt sold her into slavery. If told this story, most people would assume Shyima ended up in Asia or Africa when in reality Shyima was sold into slavery in Orange County, California (The Heritage Foundation, 2014). Shyima was forced into cleaning, lacked any type of education and was forced to live in a garage without ventilation with only one sheet. Luckily a neighbor sensed something was wrong and with the help of the police force and other programs in the area, Shyima was set free and her masters were sentenced. I was shocked that something like that was occurring in one of the wealthiest regions of the United States. The most horrific part of Shyima's story is that she is not alone. 29.8 million people are living as slaves in the world today (End Slavery Now, 2014). All it took was for one neighbor to call the cops and Shyima received justice and yet there are so many cases where a human being forced to be a slave is never set free.
In America, people like to have quick fixes. During the holiday season people will become extremely charitable by donating full meals at the grocery store or putting money into one of Salvation Army's red buckets. People that donate money are not wrong in doing these gracious actions, but they are not helping obtain social justice either. For social justice to be obtained there has to be a deep-rooted respect in another human being. Throwing cash into a bucket does not allow anyone to see the face of whom they are helping and there is not even a guarantee that it helped. As a society you cannot look at the masses, you must look at the individual (The Heritage Foundation, 2014). By developing programs such as Building Bridges or by reporting a strange circumstance in your community people can make a difference. Although these programs are not large scale, they are successful and they have higher retention rates that government funds to help with welfare or healthcare. Yet, many do not even know these programs exist. To alleviate the overwhelming number of social justice in America, people must begin seeing people as people just like themselves who have the same universal rights.
End Slavery Now (2014). Retrieved from: www.EndSlaverynow.com
Seek social justice: Transforming lives in need. (2014). The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.seeksocialjustice.com/
The Universal Doctrine of Human Rights. (2013) Retrieved from: www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/