World Day for International Justice
World Day for International Justice, also referred to as Day of International Criminal Justice or International Justice Day, is an international day celebrated throughout the world on July 17th as part of an effort to recognize the emerging system of international criminal justice. Each year, people around the world use this day to host events to promote international criminal justice, especially support for the International Criminal Court. The day has been successful enough to attract international news attention, and groups use the day to focus attention on particular issues such as genocide and serious crimes of violence against women.
As student journalists, we wanted to express our views on justice, and we hope that our community members can relate.
When I think of the word “justice,” being able to speak out and exercise one’s rights comes to mind. There has and will always be injustice in the world, even in my own community. I believe we all should fight for what we believe in. Change can only be obtained if we take the necessary actions for it to take place. There are different types of injustice--for example, discrimination, homophobia, and ageism. By taking individual action and partnering with other people who have the same stance, we can stand up to these injustices and make the world a better place. We can choose to speak out (in the community and on social media), share resources with people we know, contact news outlets, and vote against unfair laws.
One area of social justice that I am most passionate about is racism. Why racism? Because I have experienced a situation that was very inappropriate--simply because of the color of my skin. I am willing to bring a solution to injustices regarding race by creating a group that promotes the idea that everyone should be treated equally and with decency--no matter what their circumstances. And there are benefits to challenging the social order! It empowers you and helps you establish allies in the community and all over the world! Of course, there are sometimes unwelcome consequences, such as when you are forced to be quiet or are mistreated. Nevertheless, we have to incite positive change! And that’s what World Day for International Justice means to me.
All around the world there is some type of social injustice being displayed, and I am most passionate about racial injustice. My African American ancestors fought for my rights, but I believe that being an African American in today’s society is still a challenge. Although certain laws from the past--such as Jim Crow laws--have been nullified, the system still finds a way to promote superiority over people of color. I would like to use a concrete example of a racial injustice I am passionate about:
After spending 30 years on death row for a crime he did not commit, Anthony Ray Hinton is finally a free man. According to eji.org, Mr. Hinton was one of the longest serving death row prisoners in Alabama’s history and was among the longest still being imprisoned instead of being freed after evidence proved his innocence. In 1985, Anthony Hinton was taken into custody and charged with two capital murders, but there was no evidence to support this assumption. It was merely based on the fact that a revolver had been taken from his mother’s home around the time of the crimes. It wasn’t until 12 years later that the U.S. Supreme Court was able to grant a new trial.
Situations like these make me angry, and I am willing to be a part of the solution to injustices by creating a club at my school, which would highlight the issues young African Americans face in schools. Additionally, I would peacefully confront anyone who makes racist jokes and/or comments. I know that standing up for what’s right is not always easy, but I feel like if I don’t say anything about it, those who say and do offensive things will think it’s okay, and I refuse to let that happen!
When it comes to social injustices, one area I am most passionate about is mass incarceration. It is pathetic that private owners are benefiting by giving low-level or first time offenders longer sentences than necessary. It makes me feel angry and defeated when I see justice not being served in my community and around the nation. I always imagine what could have been done. When I was asked, "When should an individual take a stand against what he/she believes to be an injustice," I don't think there is a specific timeline as to when a person should speak out, because injustice is always relevant. In today’s age, the most effective way to take a stand against injustice is to be active on social media, in neighborhoods, and at government buildings and speak your truth. Negative forces will try to silence you, and they may even try to cause you physical harm, but speak it anyway!