Working in the field of peacebuilding, 2021-2022 Fellow Yehuda Silverman shares his experiences on how an individual’s actions are key steps in achieving justice:

As our world continues to become more connected, social justice is becoming even more pertinent to our lives. On 26th November 2007, the United Nations announced that each year on the 20th February, the World Day of Social Justice will be convened. Nearly 15 years later, the inequities and injustices are still prominent, with this year’s theme of “achieving social justice through formal employment” standing as a dire reminder of how the pandemic has disrupted the lives of millions economically. The swift shift to working and learning remotely has left millions grappling with challenges in connecting online and adapting to the virtual world. As smartphone usage continues to increase, we can see stable wireless networks are becoming key to accessing information, obtaining an education, and seeking employment.

“While handheld devices can be the vital link to connect online, they also hold the capacity to record the injustices that occur every day.”

While handheld devices can be the vital link to connect online, they also hold the capacity to record the injustices that occur every day. The ability to advocate for one another through additional online platforms allow us to further address human rights concerns that impact millions of people, including the future generations.

Building peace and a just world first begins with the children, and their voices are often unheard. Youth begin to dream about the future from an early age, and there are many children who face insurmountable barriers in achieving their goals. In an instant, ambitions can be disrupted as family, environmental, and conflict dynamics may impede the possibilities for youth to succeed in their endeavours.

“One person dedicating themselves to understanding another can truly make a difference”

Having stability is essential during childhood development. When working as a Guardian ad Litem (a special court-appointed advocate for abused, abandoned, and neglected children), my role went beyond being a voice for the child. While attending the court hearings, I was often the sole individual who understood the current circumstances in the child’s lifeOne person dedicating themselves to understanding another can truly make a difference, and if everyone had a mentor in their lives, imagine the transformations that could emerge.

On this World Day of Social Justice, taking a moment to reflect on how an individual can further make an impact is crucial to continue developing a better world. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson advocated that “each individual has the capacity to build communities and endow communities with life… so that every community member becomes a source of inspiration.” Even one hour a week could make all the difference in fostering peace and bringing light into the darkness.

Sometimes justice may seem distant, and we may even despair that a single person may not have the power to make a positive impact. However, love is the greatest power of all, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. conveyed that “power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” We are all connected, and the positive ripple effects that may emerge can begin right now. Let us go forward in seeking justice, fostering inclusivity, and making peace louder than ever before.

About the author

Yehuda is part of our 2021-2022 Fellowship cohort. He has been focusing on frameworks within global development that can further support youth. He is a peacebuilding pracademic (practitioner/academic) and is currently a facilitator for the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, and a Global Solutions Sustainability Challenge Coach for IREX. Yehuda has a PhD in Conflict Analysis and Resolution with a concentration in International Peace from Nova Southeastern University in Florida, USA.  


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