“Service,” as it is traditionally understood, is often used synonymously with charity. That is, helping someone meet an immediate need. From serving a hot meal to providing a warm place for neighbors to rest their head overnight, Catholic Charities has long been in the work of this kind of service. But it has been said in Catholic Social Teaching spaces that true service has two feet: charity and justice (often referred to as the Two Feet of Love in Action). The former is short-term and gives someone what they need now, while justice asks the question, “Why was there the need in the first place?” Justice is about getting at the root of the problem and working to ensure that there is less of that need next month, next year, or in future generations. Both feet are necessary, but each are not sufficient on their own.
The work of social justice, then, is multi-faceted for addressing root causes of societal problems is no small task. But like service and charity, justice is often made synonymous with legislative advocacy or working with elected officials to change policies that impact those in need. While certainly important, meaningful change does not just happen at the Capitol, but in our neighborhoods, organizations, and in relationship with each other. And community organizing, story-telling, and education are some other integral parts of justice work. When we can bring people together to learn, ask questions, and hear stories, we know we are much more likely to be moved and motivated to take the next steps for action and change.
Our annual Social Justice Assembly is a time to do exactly that: to gather as a community to discuss issues that are impacting the most vulnerable or marginalized in our society. We learn from leaders, share stories, and reflect with each other how we can get more involved to remove barriers to opportunity and help create more equitable communities.
After a break in 2021 due to public health concerns, this annual community education event is back (virtually), focusing on the connections of housing and health. We invite you, your friends and neighbors throughout Minnesota to join us on Tuesday, March 1st at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom for Rx: Housing – The Critical Relationship between Housing and Health. We will hear from community leaders in healthcare, public policy, health equity, and housing services to understand how each of us can make a difference, as we aim to better walk alongside those in need with two feet of true service. Learn more about the assembly and register! And, follow our advocacy work by joining our network of advocates.
Social Justice Education Manager