I have spent the last weekend at an I’ll Fight conference in Bundaberg. While I am not generally a huge fan of conferences, there was a solid line up of topics and presenters and it turned out to be a great weekend of teaching, exploring, networking and sharing. A couple of things stood out to me.
One, a large percentage of the delegates were quite elderly (at least over 65years). Justice is often seen as a young persons trend, which allows them to jump and down and scream and shout without ever having to break an intellectual or financial sweat. When I saw this many aged within their sixties and seventies, I felt an assurance that perhaps the world at large would one day embrace the responsibility of global poverty, human rights abuses and unjust political, economic and social structures. The older generation are actually far more connected with social justice issues than I first thought. I guess it is not surprising given the era they grew up in. Sure, they saw the post war boom, but from my experience, they are also a little more conscious about money and possessions. It seems also, that this older generation are not attracted to hype, gimmicks or short term investments. They want to know what is wrong, and exactly what they need to do to fix it. Their response comes from a wealth of experience and a maturity that sometimes those in the younger generation have yet to acquire. The result of course, is steady and measured…not the sort of radical insanity we so look forward to. But in the end, we could be left with a stability the justice movement needs? So, I am thinking up ways to connect this new thought into action. Watch out Home Leagues!
The second thing I noticed was the consistency of the message from each of the speakers. Each person drummed in that any commitment to justice and indeed to people suffering an injustice needs to be long-term, and needs to be consistent. If we are going to transform generations of poverty and injustice, it is going to take generations of consistent work. The message was clear...justice is not about a weekend of information and hype, it is about adjusting your lifestyle so that the welfare of others, both near and far, become the priority of our everyday life. We must reconsider a change in how we spend our money, our resources, our time, our advocacy. Our whole life becomes a life for others...and this is the life of justice we are called to. Are you in?