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Guest Blogger: Britni Strong-When Life Gives You Lemons

Britni Strong is Mass Communications Graduate student at the University of Central Missouri who previously got her Undergraduate degree in Marketing. She has in interest in social media movements and looks forward to making a splash and working in the world of advertising in the future.

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lemonade

Photo credit: http://7thandlotus.com/2016/02/beyonces-formation-is-protest-art-deal-with-it/

The most disrespected women is america is the black woman” -Malcolm X, May 1962

This speech, given by Malcolm X, is referenced in the latest Emmy nominated “Lemonade,” a visual film by the Queen Bey, Beyoncé. Instead of releasing the traditional music videos months apart, and keeping us on our toes wanting more she gave it to us all at once and has us in awe of the statement she was making on behalf of her community, supporters, and of course, her “BeyHive”. She told a story, not just any story, but that of a black woman in the south experiencing the hardships of daily life. She takes us through Intuition, Denial, Anger, Apathy, Emptiness, Accountability, Reformation, Forgiveness, Resurrection, Hope, and Redemption. With each song representing a different emotion and time in her life. Experiencing the real and raw emotions felt when your significant other becomes adulterous and in turn turns to infidelity and the self righteous moment when you have to continue being you and being the best version of yourself there is out there when the haters are commenting negatively on the texture of your hair or the color of your skin.

There are other artists who have attempted to portray the life of a woman and are in favor of celebrating the greatness that there is in being a woman; Taylor Swift, Lena Duncan, and Lily Allen are just a few of the well known feminists who are celebrating the positives and are right there with you at your lowest of lows belting out anthems.

Beyoncé is breaking that stereotype and empowering black women of all ages and giving them a voice and giving them something that they can directly relate to that applies specifically to them; Taking pride in the color of your skin, the texture of your hair, where you have come from, and embracing the power, courage and bravery that is associated with that. By offering up a prayer first, Lemonade is poured into your glass from the pitcher of the unrelenting hate-consumption of black women’s hurt and anger that other media, notably reality television has encouraged. Lemonade is Beyoncé’s intimate look into a multi-generational making and the magic of black womanhood. By featuring her daughter in portions of “Formation” and stating:

“I like by baby heir with bay hair and afros”

Lemonade can only be viewed on iTunes and Tidal. Links to some of the individual videos can be found on YouTube, like the one above. Her Superbowl performance  with Bruno Mars and Coldplay, which was squeezed, mixed with sugar and delivered in a tall refreshing glass was served to every home on Superbowl Sunday during half-time. This sparked the initial conversation of inequality, but also offered a specific side to the story in light of recent social injustices, such as the #BlackLivesMatter movement, in the United States that have been highlighted in the media.

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SOCIAL JUSTICE

Social Justice is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.”
The cool thing about The Show Me Justice Film Festival is the array of films that will come in covering so many different social justice issues. Pachamama.org said the following about Social Justice Issues “Social justice issues occur globally, nationally, regionally, locally, and within groups. These issues are a result of unequal wealth and resource distribution, unfair treatment of individuals with differing triats (race, culture, sextual orientation, religion, etc), and laws that support segregation.”  The fact that UCM is not only putting on their own film festival, but raising awareness in the process by choosing the broad, important topic/issue of Social Justice  (or injustice with most cases) is quite awesome. Kind of going off this past week where UCM had it’s homecoming week where the theme was “where the pieces fit.” It works the same with all of these social justice issues. It takes everyone to work together on many different issues, and coming together with an array of solutions.

Teamwork


But with every issue comes tough times obviously, and even when someone feels they may be close to the finish something always seems to kick you down. With Social Justice having so many huge issues that can be discussed I rather link them by that feeling of staring up at the brick wall of these horrible issues you may be trying to break through. One of my favorite movies is Invictus directed by Clint Eastwood, a story about Nelson Mandella and the South African rugby team. In this film Nelson Mandella (Morgan Freeman)  reads a famous poem created by William Ernest Henley. (The scene=link, picture of the actual poem ) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FozhZHuAcCs 

invictus poem The poem basically referring to hard times, the hardest of times, the darkest of times, and to just remember nothing controls you or determines how you should feel. As it says “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” This poem was created for William Henley to boost his own spirits, yes it was because he was sick in the hospital, but this has no limits on to what problems it relates to.


So The Show Me Justice Film Festival is not only a great opportunity for UCM, but an awesome way to raise awareness on so many Social Justice issues.

Poverty and the Little Ones

Poverty is that condition of having little or almost no money, goods or means of support. Poverty has being a problem ever since the beginning of time. Money and resources have always defined the style of life people live and most of the actions they do. In ancient times, people and tribes used to measure richness and status based on how many things they had.

descarga (7)Now a days the world has change a lot and it is all about money and how many valuable things you posses, that is how we define our lifestyles and ourselves. But there is a big part from the globe who are now living in extreme poverty,  studies from the United Nations show that about 21,000 people die everyday of hunger  or causes related to hunger. But this is not the worse part, sadly, it is children the ones who die most often. The numbers of children living in extreme poverty has grown amazingly having 3.55 million extreme poor children in 2011.

Poverty prevents a child from living healthy and it makes it more difficult for him to live in all aspects of development, whether it is physical, mental, emotional, cultural, social, family and spiritual. Poverty also deprives children from the fundamental right to life; the opportunity to have an education and denies them access to health care, clean water, food, shelter, safety and security, information, etc.

The United Nations recognized in 1992 an International Day for the Eradication of Poverty which is celebrated every year on October 17. The porpoise of this day was tu promote awareness about the big need for eradicate poverty all over the world, specially in those countries that are developing.

What does this mean? United Nations, most countries and some other organizations are working hard on trying to fight this problem. The issue here is that there is a lot of food in the world, plenty enough to feed all the people living in the globe; the problem is that they don´t have enough money or resources to pay for it, sometimes entire families last weeks without being able to eat something at all. pict

Yesterday, October 17th,the general secretary of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, called on the importance ofcontinue fighting poverty and the increasing inequality recorded since the financial crisis. He recalled the actions that have been taken and all the development that has been done, but he also called the international community to keep on working to overcome this big issue.

No society can really defeat poverty without doing everything that is possible, in a strict and long-term way. Countries need to ensure that all their members have the right and opportunity to receive basic health care, nutritious food and a decent education.

Poverty is diminishing, but efforts to fight it are still insufficient. However, it is a realistic dream. Solutions exist, what´s missing is a real political will in the world.

There is a chance to finish with this big issue, all we need is to create awareness among people and get more involved with the topic. We can all do something even though it is “little” if we all do little things, a big one will arise.

Thanks for reading!

What is Social Justice?

photo credit: Google image search

Photo Credit: Google Image Search

Have you heard the term “social justice” recently and wondered, “What is social justice, exactly?”  Well, chances are…you are not alone!

While many believe social justice may be an umbrella term that would be far too difficult to broach in this simple blog post, there are a few important aspects we can address.

First we’ll look at what the champions of social justice believe the term means, and then we’ll compare that to the opposing viewpoints many may have.  Finally, we will review the fundamentals of social justice, while considering a way we can all work together in a more civil environment to tackle to tough topics of social justice.

If you were to ask supporters what social justice means to them, you would find that basically—it means whatever they would like it to mean.  For example, ten champions of social justice may give you these answers as important issues in social justice today:

  1. EQUAL access to education
  2. Gay RIGHTS
  3. UNIVERSAL health care
  4. Income INEQUALITY
  5. RIGHT to housing
  6. Child WELFARE
  7. DIGNITY
  8. Women’s RIGHTS
  9. FAIRNESS
  10. Racial INEQUALITY

However, the other side may view social justice as something completely different.  A particular response from a recent study claimed that:

 “[Social Justice is] the promotion of ethical standards held by the majority, by shaming and shunning those who are considered ‘unethical’.  This basically reinforces the feelings of ethical superiority, instead of promoting actual change.” 

Other trepidations opponents may have regarding social justice, include the feelings that it is merely:

  • Political Opportunism
  • Intellectual Laziness

And essentially, that “freedom must be sacrificed in order to redistribute income.”  There is a general concern that the state will grow and utilize its POWER to do “good things”.

It is true, that the basic doctrine of social justice can be simplified by THE HAVES, who have too much, and THE HAVE NOTS, who never have enough.

However, we must pull away from this notion that only the “right” people can impose equality, prosperity, justice, and all the other “good things”, and that the state is the only institution that is capable of implementing these ideals.  Those who champion social justice should not view those who do not as the enemy!  It’s this very separation that prevents us from being a truly free society.

Photo credit: Prager University

Photo Credit: Prager University

But why is it only up to the state to fix?  Why can’t we come together and fight for these issues as one?

It is important to note that organizations such as the American Psychological Association (APA) are known for fighting for social justice.  In an article titled “And Social Justice for All” on the APA.org website by Chris Munsey states that the most noticeable came in 1954, when APA President Kenneth B. Clark, PhD and Mamie Phipps Clark, PhD provided works which aided in the Supreme Court decision, ruling racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional.

In closing, we feel Melba J.T. Vasquez, PhD., President of the APA said it best:

“We can all work to turn down the temperature on outrage, and we can disagree passionately, but with respect and care.” 

Please share your thoughts with us, as we’d love to include other opinions and ideas into the working definition of social justice.