“Be the change you wish to see in the world” - Mahatma Gandhi
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
We have seen marginalized individuals experience social injustices during this sociopolitical climate, which include microaggressions, food insecurity, financial insecurity, unemployment, homelessness, inadequate healthcare, oppression, institutional discrimination, and so much more. When marginalized individuals do not have their basic needs according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, including food, shelter, and safety. As a result, this may negatively affect their physiological and psychological well-being. After all, they are dealing with toxic stress daily because they are trying to obtain their basic needs due to being economically disadvantaged. Being economically disadvantaged has adverse or harsh economic, psychological, physical, and social circumstances that can transpire in an individual's life (Brown,2016, p173). Toxic stress and trauma are correlated with poverty and household stressors that influence their microsystem, thus increasing the toxic stress and adverse physiological and psychological effects on the individual (Ellis,& Dietz, 2017, pS87). Individuals who live in high-poverty areas experience a plethora of stressors pertaining to the following social injustices, including financial insecurity, housing instability, food insecurity, school inequity, and high crime rates. This adds to the amount of toxic stress and trauma these individuals experience within their home, school, and community environments (Ellis,& Dietz,2017, pS87).
Toxic stress leads to adverse outcomes that include disabilities due to social, emotional, and cognitive impairments, and health risk behaviors (Rajan et al., 2019, p647& Grimes, 2017, pS19). Toxic Stress is defined as prolonged stress which suppresses the immune system and is correlated to an increase of negative outcomes of an individual’s physical health, mental health, and behavioral and emotional issues as it relates to emotional dysregulation and increased aggression, which leads to chronic health outcomes (Rajan et al., 2019, p647). Social justice is about advocating for the welfare and additional resources for marginalized individuals. If social and economic issues contribute to a marginalized individual's lack of access to resources, services, or job positions, other individuals should advocate for the equality of marginalized populations (Brown, 2016, p33). Social justice ensures that access to resources and laws are inclusive of the population regardless of individual's race, gender, economic status, and religious differences. Social Justice addresses the inequalities that impact marginalized groups of people within the constructs of educational and economic systems (Brown, 2016, p20). Social justice can be achieved through engaging in political action to advocate for laws to be changed (Brown, 2016, p20).
Now is the time for us as people to get involved in advocacy and start fighting for the rights of marginalized individuals so the world will be a better place for others.
Brown, D. (2016). Career information, career counseling, and career development (11th ed.).
Boston, MA: Pearson.
Ellis, W. R., Dietz, W. H. (2017). A new framework for addressing adverse childhood experiences: the building community resilience model, 17, S86-293
Grimes, K. E. (2017). Lessons From ACEs: Pay Now or Pay (More) Later. Academic Pediatrics, 17(7S), S18–S19. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acap.2016.12.013
Rajan, S., Branas, C. C., Myers, D., & Agrawal, N. (2019). Youth exposure to violence involving a gun: evidence for adverse childhood experience classification. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 4, 646. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-019-00053-0