What is Social Justice Work?

The Story of the River Babies (A Short Parable)

One summer in the village, the people in the town gathered for a picnic. As they leisurely shared food and conversation, someone noticed a baby in the river, struggling and crying. The baby was going to drown!  Someone rushed to save the baby.

Then, they noticed another screaming baby in the river, and they pulled that baby out. Soon, more babies were seen drowning in the river, and the townspeople were pulling them out as fast as they could. It took great effort, and they began to organize their activities in order to save the babies as they came down the river.

As everyone else was busy in the rescue efforts to save the babies, two of the townspeople started to run away along the shore of the river.

"Where are you going?" shouted one of the rescuers. "We need you here to help us save these babies!"

"We are going upstream to stop whoever is throwing them in!"

Saving the babies is Social Work...going up the river to stop whoever is throwing them in is Social Justice Work.


Robert Caldwell is the Executive Director of AnswerPoverty.org and has been a practitioner and thought leader on the issues of poverty & race for more than 25 years.  Visit AnswerPoverty.org 


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