Why Social Justice?

What do I get out of it personally, besides the obvious answer to make the world a better place? What's a more selfish and honest answer to that question.

Recently, a friend of mine suddenly passed away. Nancy was more than a friend, a kind of mentor. She encouraged me in my social justice work. I came upon a beautiful description of Nancy's social justice work by the minister of her own church:

Some folks believe Jesus’ loaves and fishes miracle was a mystical demonstration of shaping divine substance: He spoke the word and loaves and fishes materialized from the ethers. Personally, I prefer the notion that when he spoke the word, the crowd’s belief in fear and lack was dispelled. Each then brought forth scraps of bread and chunks of fish tucked in the folds of their tunics, and a feast for all emerged. It’s not a story about a magic miracle; it’s a story about the miracle of raising consciousness.

For years now, UNS has demonstrated its own version of loaves and fishes. The first Sunday each month, an empty crate is miraculously filled with cases of food for Hillside’s Food Pantry. That miracle has largely been shaped by the immense and unwavering generosity of our beloved Nancy. Once a month, without fail, she has schlepped three to four times her weight in food from Sam’s Club and filled our crate to overflowing. It’s even more moving when you realize she’s done it not only for hungry neighbors in need, but for all of us. I say this because if her motivation were only to support the pantry, Nancy could deliver directly to Hillside and volunteers would do the schlepping. My theory is, like Jesus, Nancy wants us to understand the law of attraction. She wants us to share in experiencing the energies of abundance, generosity and gratitude. She wants us to know what she knows.

As Unitarians, we sometimes struggle to find spirituality and biblical miracles are not part of my vocabulary. But, why should I keep the joy I get from helping others to myself?

I've witnessed the tears of joy of a daughter whose two moms' love will now be recognized as legitimate, legal, and beautiful. I've felt the deep gratitude of others attending a rally in support of justice for Trayvon Martin, as that horrible injustice has affected African-Americans disproportionately. I've seen the therapeutic effects on grieving moms at events dedicated to reducing the guns that took their children's lives. I've felt a deep camaraderie with others fighting to make the Earth a healthier place for future generations. I've seen the relief in parents and their children as needed food has become available.

These were deeply spiritual moments for me. I hope that I can share those moments with others as Nancy did for me.

John Jacobs

Outreach and Social Justice Committee, Chair

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