What Does Justice for the Poor Look Like?: Yi Ling

Yi Ling | Member of APNSA |28 July 2018

The obvious answer is that no one is poor anymore, that poverty no longer exists. That shouldn’t need to be said.

Of course, that cannot be achieved straight away. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is justice.

So what does justice look like, when the poor is still poor?

I believe it looks like media that serves the interests of the common people, rather than the interests of the rich and powerful. Media that does not demonise and instead uplifts those who are the most vulnerable and needs the most help and support – the unemployed, sole parents, the disabled, carers, pensioners, the working poor.

It looks like a culture that promotes compassion and understanding towards such vulnerable members of our communities. A culture that does not shame and stigmatise needing and seeking help. A culture that does not blame poverty on the individual, and one which seeks to change the system itself in order to address poverty effectively.

It looks like recognising diversity among the poor, understanding that poor folks come from all walks of life, and that the circumstances often differ from one poor person to another, that the causes of poverty are complex and varied. It looks like acknowledging the unique issues faced by those who experience additional marginalisation – issues faced by women in poverty, by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in poverty, by poor LGBTIQ people, by poor immigrants including refugees and asylum seekers, by the ill and disabled, by the youth and the elderly. It is understanding that poverty, while it is not the sole oppression, it is one that compounds upon and exacerbates all other oppression.

Last but most importantly, it looks like the poor and the marginalised having their own voices and telling their own stories. It looks like the movement for the poor being led by the poor – because after all, justice is the giving of power to those who need and deserve it.

*All blogs are the sole opinion of the author and not the position of the Anti-Poverty Network SA.