After completing school builds in very remote parts of India, Guatemala, and Malawi this year, we have seen a tremendous amount of inequality, unfairness, and injustice played out in many ways. Our organization’s mission is to fight against all of these by providing the opportunities that only education can bring to a community and to an individual. We have witnessed first-hand the amazing and life-changing power of the hope that springs from the opportunity for a better education – to realize that dreams can become possible, goals can be realized and futures can be bright by using this tool that no one can then take away from you. But, as we fight against inequality, unfairness, and injustice, we start to wonder: Is reaching equality, fairness, and justice is truly possible? Is it possible to see even one of these ideals become a reality – in remote villages, in our communities, in the world?
To try to answer this question, we started with some definitions:
- Equality – the state of being equal especially in status, rights, and opportunities
- Fairness – the quality of making judgments that are free from discrimination
- Justice – conformity to moral rightness in action or attitude
Wow, “equal,” “free from discrimination,” and “moral rightness” in this world? Yeah, right! Ain’t gonna happen, brother! So, should we just give up trying to reach these ideals? Should we let the reality of this impossible goal force us to quit?
Well, let’s examine some other definitions:
- Inequality – disparity; differences in circumstances or opportunities
- Unfairness – biased; partiality that is not equitable or evenhanded
- Injustice – violation of another’s rights or what is right; unfair action or treatment
Hmm, maybe this is something we can get our heads around. Do you think you can fight against these? Can we realistically reduce these problems that have such devastating effects – in remote villages, in our communities, in the world? The answer is yes – we may not be able to realize the ultimate ideals of equality, fairness and justice, but we certainly can fight against the devastation of inequality, unfairness and injustice – wherever we are, whatever we do, and however we can!
While you may say that we are just using semantics to “sugar coat” the impossible and the inevitable, we do agree with Theodore Roosevelt, when he said, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly…who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”