The social justice movement has taken off with renewed fervor over the last year. We had Black Lives Matter rallies, women’s rallies, and voter suppression rallies all over the nation over the last year. The term social justice is a term that encompasses many causes, but what does it mean? These social justice quotes show how it means something different to everyone, and even how some people are against the idea of social justice.
The United Nations explains, “Social justice may be broadly understood as the fair and compassionate distribution of the fruits of economic growth.” Much of these social justice quotes refer to the economy and employment.
Regardless of which definition you use though, there are three core tenants to what falls under the umbrella of social justice: equal rights, equal opportunities, and equal treatment. Based on that, you could narrow the scope even further to say that social justice is about fighting for equality.
It doesn’t sound like there should be a downside to making sure people are treated equally, but keep reading for people’s thoughts on that.
Don’t forget to also read these equality quotes about the importance of how we treat each other.
Social justice quotes from people who are against it
1. “Social justice is a cancer. Social justice means you are ruled by whatever the mob does. What social justice does, is destroy individual responsibility.” ― Rafael Cruz
2. “I am certain, however, that nothing has done so much to destroy the juridical safeguards of individual freedom as the striving after this mirage of social justice.” ― F.A. Hayek
3. “Even as social justice ideology elevates ‘micro’ injustices beyond all sense of proportion, it ignores or downplays major injustices. Abortion, the most serious injustice of our generation, has legally eliminated more than 60 million unborn human beings since 1973. Yet it is widely held to be a positive moral good.” ― Scott David Allen
4. “There is no justice in social justice, and there is no equality in social equality.” ― Brad Thor
5. “I beg you, look for the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words.” ― Glenn Beck
6. “Envy was once considered to be one of the seven deadly sins before it became one of the most admired virtues under its new name, social justice.” ― Thomas Sowell
Famous Social justice quotes about economy and employment
7. “We all need to work together because there are no jobs on a dead planet; there is no equity without rights to decent work and social protection, no social justice without a shift in governance and ambition, and, ultimately, no peace for the peoples of the world without the guarantees of sustainability.” ― Sharan Burrow
8. “Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strengthen governance.” ― Ban Ki-moon
9. “A primary justification for a basic income is social justice.” ― Guy Standing
10. “The country needs fiscal discipline to build a strong economy and for social justice.” ― Smriti Irani
11. “When you’re fighting for economic and social justice, you’re always fighting for the minority.” ― Bob Kerrey
12. “We need love, and to ensure love, we need to have full employment, and we need social justice. We need gender equity. We need freedom from hunger. These are our most fundamental needs as social creatures.” ― David Suzuki
13. “Economic inequality is not about food stamps and homeless shelters. It is about being a devotee of social justice and equality.” ― Mike Quigley
14. “There is not Communism or Marxism, but representative democracy and social justice in a well-planned economy.” ― Fidel Castro
15. “I am a social democrat – I believe in pursuing greater equality and tackling social justice – but… you can’t do that unless you have got a strong economy unless you have got a vibrant business base earning the wealth that makes that possible.” ― Nicola Sturgeon
16. “Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strengthen governance.” ― Ban Ki-moon
17. “All of the great social justice advances that we ever had in this country have come not from people with big titles and not from people at the top, but just from everyday people getting together saying ‘Enough is enough. I’m going to change this, and I’m going to get involved, and I am going to be engaged.’” ― Nina Turner
18. “The greatest movement for social justice our country has ever known is the civil rights movement, and it was totally rooted in a love ethic.” ― Bell Hooks
19. “Every social justice movement that I know of has come out of people sitting in small groups, telling their life stories, and discovering that other people have shared similar experiences.” ― Gloria Steinem
20. “The social justice movement of the 21st century is economic development.” ― Wendell Pierce
21. “After the applied postmodern turn, postmodernism was no longer a mode of describing society and undermining confidence in long-established models of reality: it now aspired to be a tool of Social Justice.” ― Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay
22. “The real power of any movement is how we work together with other social justice movements.” ― Dustin Lance Black
23. “Do you know what social justice is? Do you know what social reform is? I didn’t either, but reform and social justice are what I intend to do.” ― Silvio Santos
24. “Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions, and making sure no one is left behind. Let’s continue to move forward.” ― Jack Layton
25. “I know we have to have people of good conscience who stand up against oppression. I know we have to have people who understand that social justice belongs to us all. And that wakes me up every morning, and that makes me fight even harder.” ― Stacey Abrams
26. “Fighting for human rights, a commitment to social justice and treating people with dignity are all things that are important to us as Canadians.” ― Jagmeet Singh
27. “Aside from my family, I have two great loves in my life: acting and the fight for social justice.” ― Alan Rosenberg
28. “Boycotts have been a critical part of social justice in American history, particularly for African-Americans.” ― Stacey Abrams
29. “When you’re fighting for social justice, one of my biggest pet peeves is speaking out of ignorance.” ― Eva Longoria
30. “Revolution is about the need to re-evolve political, economic, and social justice and power back into the hands of the people, preferably through legislation and policies that make human sense. That’s what revolution is about. Revolution is not about shootouts.” ― Bobby Seale
31. “Scotland is my country, the nation that shaped me, that taught me my values. A nation whose achievements inspired and inspire me, a community whose failings drive me – drive my overwhelming desire to fight for social justice and equality.” ― Johann Lamont
32. “I have spent all my life advocating on behalf of the poor, oppressed, and marginalized. As a social justice and human rights activist, and now as President of the Republic of Malawi, I have a deep appreciation for the challenges of those on the margins of society.” ― Joyce Banda
Social Justice quotes that prove it means something different to everyone
33. “Authenticity is an act of social justice.” ― Kierra C.T. Banks
34. “I don’t mind expressing my opinions and speaking out against injustice. I would be doing this even if I wasn’t a writer. I grew up in a household that believed in social justice. I have always understood myself as having an obligation to stand on the side of the silenced, the oppressed, and the mistreated.” ― Tayari Jones
35. “Social justice is the surest guarantor of peace in the world.” ― Guy Ryder
36. “Almost certainly, however, the first essential component of social justice is adequate food for all mankind.” ― Norman Borlaug
37. “If the civil society is not transparent, honest, and accountable, then you cannot be a champion of social justice.” ― Winnie Byanyima
38. “I tell young people to prepare themselves as best they can for a world that grows more challenging every day-get the best education they can and couple that education with real-life experience in social justice work.” ― Julian Bond
39. “The challenge of social justice is to evoke a sense of community that we need to make our nation a better place, just as we make it a safer place. ― Marian Wright Edelman
40. “I think that a church should be setting the pace for social justice.” ― Max Lucado
41. “To me, that is really fundamental to social justice: to have choices in life.” ― Eva Moskowitz
42. “Without food, man can live at most but a few weeks; without it, all other components of social justice are meaningless.” ― Norman Borlaug
43. “But if you’re asking my opinion, I would argue that a social justice approach should be central to medicine and utilized to be central to public health. This could be very simple: the well should take care of the sick.” ― Paul Farmer
44. “The world howls for social justice, but when it comes to social responsibility, you sometimes can’t even hear crickets chirping.” ― Dean Koontz
45. “In these days of difficulty, we Americans everywhere must and shall choose the path of social justice, the path of faith, the path of hope, and the path of love toward our fellow man.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt
46. “Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained.” ― Helen Keller
47. “Placing decent work and social justice at the core of policymaking is simply a recognition of the obvious: none of us can build a better future for ourselves unless we include others.” ― Guy Ryder
48. “Many are attracted to social service – the rewards are immediate, the gratification quick. But if we have social justice, we won’t need social service.” ― Julian Bond
49. “I started out young and idealistic, and it was all about social justice and fair distribution of resources. I didn’t understand why everybody couldn’t be equally prosperous.” ― John Mackey
50. “Social justice cannot be attained by violence. Violence kills what it intends to create.” ― Pope John Paul II
51. “You would know that the concept of a society is based on the quality of that mercy; its sense of fair play; its sense of justice!” ― Billy Hayes
52. “If… if we are to have faith in justice, we need only to believe in ourselves. And act with justice.” ― Frank Galvin
53. “In America, your zip code or your socioeconomic status should never determine the quality of your education.” ― Arne Duncan
54. “The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
55. “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” ― Elie Wiesel
56. “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope…” ― Robert Kennedy
57. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in issues of social justice, political freedom, and civil rights.” ― Jennifer Chiaverini
58. “Striving for social justice is the most valuable thing to do in life.” ― Albert Einstein
59. “If you join a fight for social justice you may win or lose, but just by being part of the struggle, you win, and your life will be better for it.” ― Howard Zinn
60. “Freedom is incomplete without social justice.” ― Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Social justice helps us create safe communities, where everyone cares about what happens to everyone else. The idea of social justice is rooted in religion. Italian philosopher and priest Luigi Taparelli d’Azeglio spoke about the topic in 1843 according to the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), a nonprofit educational organization.
It was eventually adopted into the Catholic Church, where many of the early conversations centering on the growing chasm between the rich and poor. This is a theme we still talk about today, but it has grown into so much more.
In more present-day history, John Rawl, an American political philosopher, published “A Theory of Justice,” in 1971. He wrote that people have “an equal right to the most extensive system of equal basic liberties compatible with a similar system of liberty for all.” It is critical that we continue to stand and speak for things like diversity, oppression, and inclusivity. Our society is changing, but there is still much work to do.
What’s your biggest takeaway from these social justice quotes and sayings? How do you get involved? Let us know in the comment section below.