A Whole New World: 7 Virtues for the Great Reset - #2 Justice

great reset social justice Jun 04, 2020

“The injury of one shall be considered the injury of all; the comfort of each, the comfort of all; the honor of one, the honor of all.”   Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i Faith

We did not originally include Justice as one of the virtues in this blog series, though it was woven through others on the list of seven. However, in light of the brutal and senseless death of a black man under the knee of a white policeman, followed by an uprising of outrage across America, and indeed the world, we feel that Justice must come front and center as we reflect on the Great Reset.

The global pandemic has given all of us an open invitation to court transformation. The latest racist atrocity, as overwhelming as it may feel with the backdrop of the Covid pandemic, is yet another portal to forging a new way forward. It’s awakening people across a broad social spectrum as never before to injustices perpetrated for far too long. Poverty and economic inequality are deeply related to the spread of illness, with black and brown families contracting Covid and losing a disproportionately higher percentage of lives to the virus. We have witnessed three recent incidents of indisputable racism: the vigilante killing of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed 25 year old black jogger, a woman in central park threatening to accuse a bird watching Harvard professor with assault for asking her to leash her dog, and George Floyd’s brutal murder -- all captured on video right before our eyes. Such things are nothing new, but the world’s awareness has been ramped up exponentially to reveal the systemic injustices that constantly confront black Americans and other people of color.

Slammed with this new level of despair on top of our losses from Covid, we must choose our responses with discernment. This could be a catalyst for real change. Just as no one is safe from Covid 19 until all of us are safe, none of us will have peace unless justice is available to all of us. As protesters chant, “No justice. No peace.”

Through the dark, dark night It's been a long time coming.” Negro Spiritual

There has been a huge upwelling of empathy and calls for social and economic justice in the marches now encircling the globe. George Floyd’s name  and “Black lives matter” are being chanted, along with calls for justice, from Milan to Berlin, Cardiff to Toronto, London to Sydney, Brazil to Ethiopia. Tens of thousands marched in Auckland, New Zealand to protest this final straw in the devastatingly long list of killings of black Americans, demanding police accountability and an end to brutality. As protestors approached police in Coral Gables, Florida, the police and many others knelt and asked for forgiveness. The protesters began to weep and pray, and they too dropped to a knee. A courageous young black man, in another American city, wearing a “Free Hugs” T-shirt, approached police, who were in full battle attire, and was warmly and gratefully embraced, while an angry crowd protested his gesture of reconciliation. People are now demanding action beyond sentiment.

People are asking, what is Justice? Its most basic aspect is what columnist Warren Harbeck calls “the societal expression of the Golden Rule.” It is treating other human beings with dignity, honoring them as people of value, protecting their rights to life, freedom and fair treatment and expecting them to be accountable to protect ours.

So, what are we to do for the healing of this wound in the social fabric still festering after hundreds of years?  In the midst of increasing crisis fatigue, how do we find the strength to become, as Gandhi wrote, the change we wish to see in the world? Discernment, our first virtue of the Great Reset, is needed to make the most of this wake up call.

1. Ask the right questions. 

How can we serve Justice and how can Justice serve us? There is a call for “justice investing” by diverting some tax spending for policing to fund social programs, affordable housing, better schools, and universal employment. These shifts to justice and equity will significantly reduce the need for more prisons and more police.

We need to ask each other, what is the truth of everyone’s experience -- the disenfranchised person of color, the dedicated police officer, the small business owner whose livelihood is at risk, white allies seeking a way to help. Only when we walk a mile in another’s moccasins can we understand their reality. Dialogue is essential now.

We need to create forums for people to come together to heal,  considering deeply who needs to be at the table.  We need to use companioning, a process of questioning that helps to get to the heart of the matter, to hear without judging, and honor the reality of each soul. 

2. Listen deeply. 

We need to heed Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: “Think win/win” and “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”   It’s time to turn to sacred texts and modern wisdom, which guide us to practice the Golden Rule of doing unto others what we wish done unto ourselves, with love, compassion, respect and peace. At this potential tipping point, only getting to the truth will set us free.

What voices should we be listening to as we seek the light in this dark time? We need trustworthy leaders of thought with an enlightening, unifying message. 

3. Reflect Mindfully.  

Let us mindfully consider the need for justice in its many forms. The forced pause in our normal economic and personal lives provides the impetus for deep thought. Racial justice, social justice, environmental justice are all interrelated and all provide a positive path forward.

Reflect on how we can come together to forge a better future. What needs to change in the justice system so that people are treated without prejudice, regardless of color or role? All need to be held accountable. Justice is the only foundation for real peace. An increase in justice would powerfully impact the Great Reset.

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer.”  Harriett Tubman

Let us dare to dream of a whole new world, bringing justice to each other, our planet, and our children’s future. Peace is giving up the love of power for the power of love. No justice, no peace.

Call to Action:

  • Speak the Language of  Virtues as a daily practice. Use virtues as a frame of reference in your thinking and your words. Eliminate labels and name-calling. Speak with respect at all times, whether thanking someone, acknowledging a child, or calling someone to a virtue they could be showing. Setting our moral compass on virtues such as love, resilience, empathy, trustworthiness and unity will help us navigate this new, unfamiliar world of constant change.  
  • Educate yourself. Deepen your own understanding of the history of race and racism. Read books such as Black Like Me, Malcolm X, To Kill a Mockingbird, Eight Years, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, White Fragility, My Vanishing Country and From Here to Equality, to name a few. Watch films such as Twelve Years a Slave, Harriett, The Color Purple, Amistad, A Raisin in the Sun, Thirteenth, and Just Mercy. As you open and learn, courageously recognize your own unconscious conditioning. It is the only way to transform fear and estrangement into trust and humanity. 
  • Learn about restorative justice, both as applied in schools and in communities. See The Virtues Project Educator’s Guide
  • Be a voice for justice. In your own sphere of influence, stand up and speak up for equality in education, business, economics, and humane police practices. Each of us can commit to never again being a bystander, colluding with racist or ethnic slurs, jokes, or injustices. 

Authors: Linda Kavelin-Popov and David Feldman

Linda Kavelin-Popov is a psychotherapist and hospice spiritual care doula. She is co-founder of The Virtues Project, endorsed by The Dalai Lama and the United Nations. She has authored seven books, translated into several languages. She was named a “Cultural Creative” by Time Magazine.

Dave Feldman is an entrepreneur, community builder, thought leader and international speaker.  He co-founded several social entrepreneurial ventures including: Virtues Matter, developer of the Virtues Cards app; Livability Project, a sustainability consultancy; and Media4Green, an environmental content producer.