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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

Small actions, big impact: My experience with social justice

December 14, 2018

by Guest Writer

This post is part of our #LetsTalkEquity series focused on encouraging conversations about equity and inclusion. Join the conversation online through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by following Ontario Tech Student Life.

“Social Justice is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities.” - National Association of Social Workers (NASW) (2014)

one hand holding another hand, to symbolize helping someone upToday, social justice is defined as the organizing value and foundation of social work. There are numerous social issues in the world but the most significant problem under social justice today can be divided into two categories: (1) the inequality of people in society because of their gender, sexual orientation, race, age, disability, status, and immigration. (2) How government policies affect people unequally including access to education, health care and many more.

Who I am: A feminist and a fighter

I have always been interested in social justice, and at some point, It became an integral part of my journey. I opened an Instagram page in January 2018 to fight against misogyny and racism. I became an avid speaker for the feminist community online as well as a support system for women who need help. At the time, I saw myself as a “social justice warrior” and a fighter for a better community online.

How my view on social justice changed

My perspective on social justice changed about two months ago when I spoke with a young girl who for the sake of privacy; let's call her “Emma.” She is around the age of 12/13, and I met her on social media. We talked a lot about the issues in her life and things she was experiencing. She had been through more in her short time than I have in my 20 years on this earth. She opened up to me about the abuse she faced from her father and how that changed her life.

I am still haunted by the ache in her voice when I spoke to her and the fact that there was nothing I could do to support her except giving phone numbers of people who can care for her. This whole situation made me think of the concept, “social justice” in a different light. Before, I felt that social justice referred to someone who considers themselves a fighter for justice – someone who works to create a better and safer society. I thought that what I did not affect Emma’s life.

I was wrong.

Small actions count, even if it is a little as giving Emma a phone number for someone who is more educated in that sector. I became a part of shifting the narrative for Emma and shaping her story in a different light.

The concept of “social justice” stems from the principles of fairness, equity, and human rights. You have the power to create social change and change narratives. Learning and engaging in social justice issues (such as equity, abuse against women and girls, fighting for access to education, diversity, more accessibility, poverty reduction, and environmentalism) empowers you and everyone around you as citizens for the global world. After working with Emma who is now in a safe home, my connectedness with the world has expanded, and my self-awareness is on a high.

How can we work for a better society?

According to the Oprah, “the little things you do can change the narrative.” I believe that in everyone there is a mighty activist and a person who can create a better society. Take a look at your everyday life and think of something small you can do to start:

  • Compliment a stranger.
  • Support your local women's shelter.
  • Volunteer.
  • Donate used clothing.
  • Foster an animal.

Everything counts to make a better society. So, I urge you today to do something outside the ordinary and fight for a better society anyhow you can.