World Social Justice Day – February 20

World Day of Social Justice takes place on Saturday, February 20.  It is very fitting to celebrate this day as the world has witnessed enormous suffering and inequalities during the Covid-19 pandemic which call for a response.

Figure 1  UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres (UN photo)

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres spoke of what many experience during his New Year’s message for 2021.

“Poverty, inequality and hunger are rising. Jobs are disappearing and debts are mounting. Children are struggling.”

Mr. Guterres said that violence in homes is increasing, and insecurity is everywhere.  But he also sees rays of hope:  people extending a helping hand to neighbors and strangers; frontline workers giving their all; scientists developing vaccines in record time; countries making new commitments to prevent climate catastrophe.    

Figure 2 Sisters Catherine Prendergast (L) and Margaret O’Dwyer (R) at a Vincentian Family event about grass roots engagement in ending poverty.

“If we work together in unity and solidarity, these rays of hope can reach around the world,” Mr. Guterres said.

People joining together to address social issues can have a strong impact.  That is why the Vincentian Family is collaborating this month at the UN’s 59th Commission for Social Development.  During the Commission we will advocate for a socially just transition from this Covid era, one in which human rights are respected, social protection is provided to those who most need it, poverty is ended, all have internet access, and much more.    The Commission runs February 8-17. 

We know every Daughter of Charity throughout the world joins us in advocating for social justice, whether working with migrants and refugees, in soup kitchens, with persons experiencing homelessness, with abused women, in educating children, in providing health care or in other forms of service.   Because social justice and ending inequalities is what helps to eliminate poverty.  May we all be the rays of hope of which Mr. Guterres speaks.  

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