Everyone’s definition of Freedom, Liberty and Justice varies according to their personal experiences. Our pledge of allegiance infers that we are a nation that strives to a standard that is equal for everyone. “Liberty and Justice for all” we declare it every time we say our pledge, but not everyone is free to experience liberty daily or receive justice.
I researched the origin of the routine declarations we make, and often don’t consider the reality that many are not free, and I found a few statements that I believe can describe our desire to live in a world that has liberty and justice for all. “Liberty and Justice for all is aspirational. To strive for liberty and justice for all represents that we must acknowledge the reality of injustices and violations of freedom that exist today and work to remedy them. And it means deciding to do something about it.” (Visions Inc.)
The definition and core value of justice requires us to give respect to one another. To treat others as we would want to be treated. To walk alongside each other, no strings attached to receive unconditional love and acceptance. There is a verse in the Bible from Micah 6:8 that tells us this guiding principle, “God has shown us what He requires – to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.”
I firmly believe that once we become aware of an injustice, it’s a deciding factor for us, at that moment we must choose what we will do in response to that injustice. If that choice is complacency and judgement, we become a part of the problem. Choosing to act justly and to love mercy can extend life giving freedom to someone who is experiencing a type of modern slavery and oppression that seems foreign to us but in reality happens every day, is evident all around us in our neighborhood and local communities. Our responsibility is to respond by seeing them, truly believing their story, and building the trusting relationship together in a safe and loving environment that allows them to navigate their freedom on their terms, giving them hope for a life free from injustice.
Experiencing a lifetime of injustice and the inability to live free from oppression is daunting. Freedom is best accomplished by trusting relationships built carefully over time, understanding the effects that paralyzing trauma can have and then lovingly allowing a survivor to experience true freedom, liberty, and justice.
One of my greatest joys and passion is to see someone begin to realize their value and purpose as they work to navigate away from what has held them captive. We call the survivors we work with at Xquisite “Diamonds,“ instilling value, purpose, hope, into everything we do, allowing them the courage to tell their story, and their voice to be heard. One of the Diamonds I am sharing this journey alongside entrusted me with this truth.
“You encourage and give me hope that I can make it out of this and not just survive but thrive. I would not be where I am now or heading in the correct direction if it wasn’t for you being there walking beside me helping me see how far I have come and cheering me on and reaching out to help me back up when I stumble. You empower me to be the person I am supposed to be not who they tell me I am.”
This is liberty and justice emerging into freedom, and it is my passion to one day realize that it can be Liberty and Justice For All one “diamond” at a time.