Social Justice and Personal Change

Personal change used to be others’ cup of tea until I learned from Moreau that it should be mine too (I say hi to you all, with our company tea boy serving us cups of coffee this early morning in Jeddah, or coffee with Tatay in San Pedro).

Yes, I did commit myself to change for the better, did aim to financially help relatives and some more, not just my immediate family, and did feel a sense of triumph after triumph. But I guess most of the time I lacked the right motivation in my personal change.

We are forced to but because we ourselves want to, we personally change ourselves instead of doing it in such a manner that we shift the focus on causes of structural inequalities. Our practices only show how obscured inequalities to us. We’re only good at political rhetoric and being obedient to office rules, and in charge of our respective family matters.

That shouldn’t be the way. As personal change is at the core of structural approach, we should be responsible to have a deeper understanding of our individual responsibilities rather than blame system failures at the outset. (And others are too daring to restate the obvious!)

In critical social work, we are to make every social life problem visible and detectable. Hard as it seems, uncovering dominion forms will make our personal change truly recognizable because it’s not just the changing individual who feels the effects of the transformation, but the others as well.

Gone are mainstream acts that tend to correct the mistakes of others as if s/he is neither part of it nor part of an institutional oversight. Instead, on the way are acts that look after people empowerment, including informing and educating them with the sources of inequalities and oppression.

Swift and Callahan (2009) are right. We emancipate ourselves and move from acceptance to resistance, and then to social change. It’s our decision that brings us to our destination as God’s Spirit is gentleman enough to let our free will take us to that process and outcome called social justice. DC Alviar


The fact is that you’re growing your “trees” and helping them prepare their first mornings – not all mornings.


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