How many times can we learn this lesson? A society that tolerates the systemic mistreatment or abuse of any person or group, has planted within the heart of its people a tolerance and appetite for injustice. This sets a precedent that, when convenient or expedient, will be used against any individual or group. Like a poisoned vein, injustice poisons the whole body.
The ancient Greek philosophers knew this. Over 2500 years ago the Athenian lawmaker Solon said that the ideal society is a society where an injustice to any member of the society is resisted equally. In this quote, Robert F. Kennedy calls the golden rule "practical wisdom". All students of society know that without justice, any society will eventually fail.
This is why in a democracy, the only system where systemic injustice is not "built into the system" (ie, more rights for aristocrats over surfs, emperors over subjects, etc.), it is the responsibility of every citizen to do what they can to ensure that all are treated with dignity, respect and fairness. Democracy is not a spectator sport. Citizenship requires us to be informed, socially courageous and engaged.
This is why the damning results of the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) is everybody's business. Prime Minister Trudeau has now referred to its findings of “persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses” underlying the violence against Indigenous women and girls as a "genocide". The report makes far-reaching calls for change directed to governments, media, individuals and others.
The two-volume report delivers 231 “Calls for Justice” that are framed as legal imperatives rather than optional recommendations. These include:
The establishment of a National Indigenous and Human Rights Ombudsperson and a National Indigenous and Human Rights Tribunal, and Developing and implementing a National Action Plan to ensure equitable access to employment, housing, education, safety and health care.
Remember, an injustice to one is an injustice to all.
For more on how toxic culture kills community, erodes democracy and undercuts sustainability, read "Save Your City: How Toxic Culture Kills Community & What To Do About It." Watch the 49 second book trailer below.