Social Justice: What is it and Why is it Important

This course will introduce you to the concept of social justice theory, how we got to where we are, and why social justice matters.

Definition of Social Justice

Dr. Matthew Robinson Definition of Social Justice

Social justice is defined as "... promoting a just society by challenging injustice and valuing diversity." It exists when "all people share a common humanity and therefore have a right to equitable treatment, support for their human rights, and a fair allocation of community resources." In conditions of social justice, people are "not be discriminated against, nor their welfare and well-being constrained or prejudiced on the basis of gender, sexuality, religion, political affiliations, age, race, belief, disability, location, social class, socioeconomic circumstances, or other characteristic of background or group membership" (Toowoomba Catholic Education, 2006).

Defining Social Justice

Let me know what social justice means to you in the context of your life and experience.

Figures in Social Justice Theory Development

From St. Augustine to Roscoe Pound

Who are these figures in Social Justice history?

Match the names of these historic figures to their pictures.
  • Saint Augustine of Hippo
  • Thomas Paine
  • Luigi Taparelli
  • Antonio Rosmini-Serbati
  • Louis Brandeis
  • Roscoe Pound

John Rawls


What was the name of John Rawls' thought experiment?

  • Cloak of Invisibility
  • Cone of Silence
  • Veil of Ignorance
  • Wand of Reckoning

The Importance of Implementing Social Justice Concepts

Equality, Equity (Justice), and Reality

Equality, Justice & Reality

If all members of society are provided equality, the benefit of belonging to that society will be unequal.  If equitable distribution of resources is attained, all members of society will benefit equally.  Unfortunately, we have neither of these possibilities as our current reality.

Identify the forms society my take as related in this section.

  • Reality
  • Equality
  • Justice (Equity)