Updated: May 28
To answer a question like “What is Justice Space”, it will be useful to name what it is NOT.
It is not white space.
The concept of black space and white space is detailed in an article by Elijah Anderson of Yale University titled “The White Space”, published by the American Sociological Association in 2014.
White space, as described in the article, is not necessarily defined as such by white people. White folks think of this space as just restaurants, public parks, churches and other associations, neighborhoods, and schools. White people may even think of these places as diverse, as there may be folks from various backgrounds or other countries. But to a black person entering one of these spaces, it will be noticeable to them that the vast majority are not black and may therefore feel cautious or uncomfortable and disinclined to frequent the space. There may be subtle or overt actions or comments that indicate that the black person’s presence is unexpected or unwelcome.
Justice Space is not only for the wealthy or accomplished. It is not only for the poor or unskilled. It is not only for those who identify as straight or those who identify as queer. It is not only for the older or the young.
It is not a place where the “haves” give to the “have nots”.
Justice Space, then, is space where folks wearing various shades or ages of skin feel safe, comfortable, and part of a community that supports them. Where the voices of those typically marginalized by society are heard, respected, and acted upon. Where equity is the foundational structure.
Justice Space recognizes that every person has gifts, talents and resources, allows for those gifts and talents to be seen, and facilitates the sharing of those as each person wishes. It is a place for genuine interactions, learning and growth. It is space where “mistakes” are learning, where trying something new doesn’t feel so scary, where gratitude and appreciation for each person flows freely. Where the worth and dignity of each person is upheld.
It is space where folks are creating their best life and contributing to a healthier, more equitable community.
Let’s create justice space in our communities. Join with Dignity in Action to create such space.