At first glance, justice and coexistence seem like simple words to define but in reality, they are complex and hold deep meaning. According to dictionary.com, “justice is a quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness.” According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, to coexist means “to exist together or at the same time; to live in peace with each other especially as a matter of policy”. Put together, they define an ideal world, where there are equal and equitable rights for all in a society, and where everyone, regardless of faith, ethnicity, or the color of one’s skin, can thrive. For us to reach this quasi-ideal world, we must acknowledge that our world is more than one race, faith, and culture but stems from the same origin, the same Creator. We must learn to coexist respectfully, with peace and care.
After World War II and the Cold War, there have been many global efforts to create peace accords among nations. They speak to policy-level infrastructure, but if we have not accepted justice and equality from the depths of our heart, all these efforts are destined to fail, and poverty, criminality, bigotry, and human rights violations will prevail in our societies. Today, race, culture, and faith are politicized by individuals and groups; this contributes to the unjust world in which we live.
However, if we look closely, each faith and cultural tradition stresses justice. For example, in Baha'u'llah wise words, “the best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefore if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee,” - The Arabic Hidden Words #2. In the Quran chapter 49, verse 13 reveals, “O mankind! We have created you from male and female and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in the sight of God, is the best in conduct. God is All-Knowing and Aware”.
We have many shared values that unite us and there will always be some differences as God created such. However, the shared values that we have far outweigh the minor differences we have among each other. Why do we allow disputes over resources, land, or the color of one’s skin to cause such great rifts in our society when we are all humans?
We can be instruments of justice and peace by displaying these values in our daily life: speak for the oppressed, empower less fortunate communities, and do advocacy work at the highest level. Educating our communities and making our voices heard is another way to combat the injustice in the world.
At La Convivencia, we work for justice and coexistence. We initiate dialogue based on honesty and open-mindedness to resolve the conflict. We build bridges of mutual understanding by emphasizing our shared values and celebrating our differences. Coexistence can’t happen without justice, as both these ideals go side by side -- like partners. By prioritizing justice, peace can triumph in our lives. As we come together and heal together, we can all do our part to make a just and peaceful world. The choice is ours!
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La Convivencia P. O. Box 331 Princeton Junction, NJ 08550