J is for Justice

J is obviously for justice. I like to think about justice, talk about justice, and in theory, do justice. But, do I really do justice? Or am I mostly just talk about it? And, what does even doing justice mean?

In my 5th grade Language Arts class, we’ve been talking about the events of 1963. And, how these events were built upon the work of others who came before. We saw images like this one:


Many were familiar with this image. MLK was a powerful activist, justice doer, and citizen. We often picture him giving a speech that was empowering and impactful and classic. Yet, in the same year, many photos were taken that looked more like this:


The students were apt to notice that MLK was indeed working for the same thing in both photos. It was for the same reason that MLK found himself in these places and positions fighting for justice. Doing justice. Yet, the responses to his actions were starkly different. In the first photo, MLK looked powerful, dignified, and respected. In the second, he looked powerless, shamed, and disregarded.

Doing justice can take on the image of a multitude of things. Is having this conversation with my students doing justice? Is marching in the Women’s March doing justice? What about writing to government officials? What about a non-profit organization that fights human trafficking? Adopting a child from India? Fostering a child in Austin? Sharing a photo on Instagram of children who need to be sponsored? What about just posting this blog post?

It’s a big question that I ask myself almost everyday. I don’t know the answer, but I think talking about it is better than staying silent. I think writing about it is better than being private about it. I think teaching about it is better than disguising it.

What do you think?