This week we will be hearing about justice from a student here at VU!
Kelli is a senior Sociology/Criminology major from Merrillville, IN. She has been interested in criminal justice issues throughout college and plans to continue on to grad school to learn how to manage a non-profit. She hopes to eventually start one of her own that helps people rise out of poverty! Here are some of her thoughts on justice:
“At the risk of sounding cliche, one of the best things about America and its ideals is the concept of justice. The idea that everyone has equal protections under the law is what validates our entire judicial system and makes me, as Locke-ian as it may sound, comfortable with our society being based on the concept of social contracts. It makes sense to me that, as individuals, we would give up the idea of Absolute Freedom for the sake of the greater good of society and for the preservation of the dignity of the marginalized. Justice and social contract theory has allowed our country to evolve from a nation that benefited the few to one that seeks to give equal liberty and opportunity to all.
Unfortunately, what has corrupted, or perhaps was the original Achilles’ heel, of our society has been the fallible nature of man. The law has come to include the rights of more citizens of diverse social standings, but we Americans exploit or create loopholes within our system of laws that seem to permit the continued subjugation of the non-ruling class. It’s easy to argue that our laws don’t explicitly call for inequality among races, genders, or socioeconomic statuses. When someone breaks the law, regardless of their motive, they are to be given a just punishment to whatever crime they committed. In practice, however, some people receive harsher punishments, or no punishment at all, based on their position in society. When this occurs, justice is able to rise above and ensure that truth and equality remain American ideals. Whether justice comes from the Supreme Court directly, or as a result of the citizens taking to the streets and demanding it, our government and our society tends to right its social wrongs. We constantly evolve and become better. It is for this reason that I am able to remain steadfast in my fight for social justice, even when the obstacles seem insurmountable.
Our belief in Justice has helped us to become the more perfect society that our Founding Fathers had imagined. It assures us that no wrongs will go unpunished and that someday, we will live in a society that celebrates our diversity and unites us in our similarities. America’s strength lies in its celebration of justice and we must continue to fight for its equal application to all.”
Don’t forget to send in your own answer to the question ‘What is Justice?’, or send in thoughts you have about the topic of justice! You can submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org