Monday, November 17, 2008

Leadership Vocabulary: 2 - What is a Social Justice Worker?

A "social justice worker" is a person who actively and intentionally works for social justice; social justice activists, social justice change agents, and social justice organizers are examples. The term social justice worker reflects a shift in my awareness and acceptance of modern activist culture and social change work, acknowledging that social justice workers hold a variety of positions and take various approaches (advocacy, organizing, fundraising, philanthropy, etc…) towards actualizing transformation that result in social justice. Unlike the words “activist”, “organizer”, and “change agent”, the term social justice worker is less likely to be misappropriated by individuals and organizations promoting change who do not work towards social justice based in human and civil rights. The concept of misappropriation of concepts between the fields that develop leadership in the for-profit and nonprofit sector is fascinating and deserves a whole dissertation on its own. In my experience, the resistance to acknowledge and address how terms are misappropriated is a challenge held by professionals from all sectors.

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