By Essence Byrd
CCC Journalism Program
“NO JUSTICE NO PEACE!” yells the crowd with their matching signs. A group of protesters comes together to express their beliefs about social injustice.
Supporters of the social justice movement believe social injustice, inequality among certain groups of people brought about when people are treated unequally in society, impedes growth and development and causes fear in communities.
Their opponents chant, “Blue Lives Matter,” as they hold TRUMP 2020 signs.
Across the country, two conflicting sides with opposite views. Who’s right or wrong in this scenario?
On May 25, George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed by an arresting officer while in police custody. The incident sparked an outcry for justice around the world. Protests spread like wildfire. With these protests, counter-protesters joined in wearing Ku Klux Klan attire and holding confederate flags.
“Social injustice has existed for hundreds of years,” said former Camden County College student Emily Wellik. As an Asian American, she acknowledged she has experienced discrimination, especially after the COVID-19 outbreak, as some people blamed China for the virus and, by extension, blamed her. Adopted into a Caucasian family, Wellik said she has dealt with social injustice on numerous occasions.
Social injustice goes beyond color lines.
“I have no idea what it is like to be discriminated against for my race, but I do know what it’s like to be discriminated against for my appearance,” said Camden County College student Jessica Bonamassa. “As a woman with a disability, many people forget that social injustice expands beyond race or religion. The Black Lives Matter movement is not alone in the fight.”
Prominent athletes, celebrities and local institutions are taking a stand against social injustice. Basketball player Lebron James has expressed his passion against social injustice. On June 2, Camden County College President Donald Borden sent out an email reiterating the college’s zero tolerance for hate policy and promoting peace through education.
The issue of social injustice has been identified in the United States legal system as well. In attempts to address the issue many were facing with employment and other systemic matters, President John F. Kennedy in 1961 used the term “affirmative action” in his Executive Order No. 10925. The order meant government contractors would ensure “applicants are employed and employees are treated fairly during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.” Affirmative action has been revised twice to ensure discrimination in the workplace doesn’t occur.
Protests have died down in some areas and there is a push to get the economy back to normal. The large groups of protesters who once caused roadblocks and carried signs are not as present as they once were.
A few questions remain. Is social injustice still a problem? Did it only matter because a death occurred?
When asked if the need for change was still urgent, Wellik stated, “Even though protests have slowed down in certain areas, the need for change is still just as great as it was 250 years ago.”