The Importance of Social Justice

Teachers may control the cultures of their classrooms, but they are not in control of the world their students face when they step away from their desks. Whether or not we talk about it, our students are bombarded with issues surrounding privilege and power every single day. “Activism” is now so rampant that it, for better or worse, even appears in Oscar acceptance speeches. Protests are televised and publicized at the click of a button, and the Internet has turned four hash marks into weapons of mass discussion. Whether or not we talk about it, they will.

Moreover, our students won’t just see these issues discussed; they live them. They will wonder why they don’t see their stories told on lm, or why assumptions are made about them based on their last names or skin colour. Our students are not just keen observers of the outside world; they experientially learn from struggles they encounter every day. They have important stories to tell and to hear.

Today’s “millennials” and “post-millennials” are also change-makers. They are a generation overwhelmingly dedicated to social justice. Where there is injustice, they want to respond, whether in-person, online, or monetarily – even when it is
a teenager who gives what little he can. From an early age, this generation has been raised to be empathetic, to spot and stamp out bullying, to know that “It Gets Better” and now to see that Black Lives Matter. As part of the most ethnically and gender aware cohort, this generation is exposed to more, asked to understand more, and driven to ght for more. It’s only natural that they are passionate about equality and justice of every kind. They ght for themselves, their friends, their classmates and others they see treated unfairly, whether due to issues of gender, sexuality, race, pay, or environmental. Instilled with a dedication to social justice, perhaps in good measure by parents, they seek to collaborate when possible to resolve social problems. Rather than saving their allowance money to protest their parents’ causes, they more often use it to support causes that both they and their parents care deeply for. Such intergenerational collaboration on social justice issues holds tremendous potential. Yet this potential has not been fully tapped.

This is where Run4Change comes in. Run4Change is a social justice initiative that addresses the two most critical issues facing Canadian children and youth today – obesity/physical inactivity and child poverty. It is easily embedded in current curriculum. Run4Change impacts the physical, academic and social literacy of every student who participates, while at the same time empowering them to help their peers who are less fortunate. 

January: Wellness      

  • Keeping yourself well mentally & physically healthy                                                                                    
  • Celebrating Differences  
  • Respect for yourself - breaking the cycle of poverty - teen moms, drug use and abuse poor health prevention, domestic violence                                                                                                                                                 

February: Empathy      

  • What is empathy?    How do we show empathy?                  
  • Definition: identification with or experiencing the feelings, thoughts, or     attitudes of another.                                       
  • Look up:           


March: Poverty        

  • Research the problem of poverty in your own city     
  • Get information about poverty in your own city at The Spectator:
  • Solution: See May for Making a Change                                             


April: Awareness

How can you create awareness about child poverty:

  • At your school
  • At home
  • In your community


May: Making a Change  

Ways to make a difference in:                              

  • Volunteering
  • Raising Change
  • Creating awareness
  • Speaking out and telling others