So this rule sounds slightly intimidating – as if I’m saying you’ve got a responsibility to stand up against all injustice… But that’s not exactly what I’m saying! I’m not asking you to write an open letter to the government demanding a change in asylum laws, nor am I asking you to start a worldwide petition against tax-evading corporations! These are things which we seem to discuss a lot in tutorials and lectures, and it’s easy to become accustomed to thinking that these are the only ways to tackle such large and daunting issues! Let’s call these injustices “big injustices” just for the sake of clarity.
In reality though, back down in earth, where we all live and interact, injustice happens often on a very small scale that adds up to become big injustices. The homeless person on the side of a street being largely ignored by passer-bys, the amount of food waste supermarkets/cafés produce at the end of the day, even the deplorably homophobic chants of some university sports clubs (this is something I actually discovered very recently – I was not going to let that one slide)! I’ll call these “little injustices”.
I think as law students, we tend to focus on big injustices, freedom of speech and the right to life, and I by no means am saying that these ought to be ignored! But to lose sight of little injustices that happen right before our very eyes, that’s a price that I don’t think we are bound to pay (excuse my forceful use of lawyerly language!). Maybe we have become too accustomed to the idea of injustice in general, perhaps we feel the need to change things but only on a large scale? But to me, I feel that to make big change we need to start thinking about all those little injustices.
So next time you see a homeless person, have a think about how you can help this little injustice – maybe give him some food, ask around to see if there is any charity that helps homeless people gain useful skills!
And the next time you go to a café, why not ask what their company policy is on food that doesn’t sell by the end of the day – if they don’t have one, ask them, why not?! (Not in a crazy, I’m mad sort of way, just in a, wow you should really have a policy way)!
And when you next hear the drunken chants of a sports club that could offend, perhaps make a note of which sports club this is and follow up on this when they are sober (for safety reasons!)? – when the captain of that team is sober, maybe you would want to remind them that this is the 21st century and offensive chants are really not going to be ignored!
Of course, you don’t have to do any of these things to be a law student because we are never really asked about the little injustices that happen everyday – no tutor will give you extra credit for doing this (maybe they will, in which case, I want to switch universities haha!) but on HNTBALS I think it’s time to recognise this rule – DO stand up against injustice; DON’T just let it slide!
We are all humans afterall!