Week 3: A Threat to Justice
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50 weeks of Action Archive


Week 3: A Threat to Justice

Week Three 
A Threat to Justice
From a Birmingham jail, Dr. King once wrote, " Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice, and when they fail in this purpose, they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress." Today we see a dysfunctional system where justice is not always blind, and in some cases, it is in direct contradiction of the First Amendment statutes it purports. And if you are a citizen without resources, or of a certain racial or gender affiliation, chances are, justice is mute too. 
How do we have a voice in a systemic mess without losing hope or giving up? Get the facts. Know your rights. Share your stories. Align with those who are fighting the good fight.  Your voice matters, and we are inextricably tied together. What affects one of us will affect all of us--eventually.
A protester in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania holds a sign quoting Dr. Martin Luther King: "An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." (Photo: Mark Dixon /cc/flickr)
  1. Get the facts: Watch Ava DuVernay's documentary 13th about the justice system in the U.S.  Available on Netflix.
  2. Watch this video  about the impact of Dr. King's "A Letter from a Birmingham Jail ."
  3. Click for a list of national social justice organizations with which to connect. There is likely a group in your neighborhood that is fighting for justice.
  4. Identify a social justice cause that matters to you and share it with us and others on Twitter using the #MLK50pledge hashtag.
What is justice? 
According to Wordsmyth.net, justice is:
1) upholding what is fair, just and right; 2) giving out what is  deserved, whether reward or  punishment; or 3)   a person whose job it is to decide questions brought before a court; judge . For this week, we are using definitions 1 and 2.  
What did Dr. King mean when he said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." It means that if people are being treated unfairly anywhere, that YOU could also be treated unfairly. No one is free from injustice, until there is justice for all people. It is everyone's responsibility to create and uphold justice. That is why we must become activists.
  1. To  learn what it means to be an activist click here to listen to the book A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
  2. Learn how Dr. King was an activist by watching this short BrainPOP video.
Want to learn more about being an activist for justice? Click below.
MLK50 Resources
Visit our Learn page on the commemorative site to get info, educational resources and other materials to better understand Dr. King's platform on issues like poverty, peace, justice, better jobs with fair wages, decent housing and quality education in his final years.