Charity and Social justiceVincent Chesney, MS, FAAIDD, Commonwealth of PennsylvaniaOur field, and many sectors of the larger economy, continue to struggle following years of pandemic-informed restrictions. As we search for ways forward, I am reminded of this parable, which illustrates the difference between charity and social justice. Charity responds to the real needs of others but does not inherently question what caused those needs. Social justice tries to identify and change the conditions that create injustice, prejudice, and hatred. People will tolerate, and even praise charity, but may be suspicious or outright hostile to social justice efforts.This is not to say that being kind to others is not good. Charity can be the vehicle of social justice, but it cannot be a substitute for a just society. We must ask ourselves if tackling an immediate need is enough or should we be addressing a larger issue?As we continue to find our footing in a world both racing toward, yet reluctant to return, to pre-pandemic normalcy, we should consider if we are seeking routines that are designed to maintain a status quo rather than advancing social justice. We must have the courage to go up the river to discover and address the actual causes of inequality, injustice, and prejudice in order to honor the dignity of every human person. The bodies will keep coming down the river until we look deeper.
AAIDD Releases New Book by Karyn Harvey, PhD, FAAIDD:
Trauma and Healing in the Lives of People With Intellectual Disability
NCCDD and Community Bridges Release White Paper Co-Authored by Kelly Friedlander, MSW, MPA, FAAIDD:
Mission Possible: Advancing Whole Person Care by Employing People with I/DD & Family Members as Care Extenders.
Opportunities to participate in research, projects, policy development, and other collaborations
Commentary from the field
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