The theme of this year’s Law Students for Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute is “Justice Doesn’t Just Happen.” When I first heard the theme, I was enthusiastic because it reminded me that I am becoming educated for a worthwhile purpose that is larger than myself. I immediately knew that I would arrive in Washington, D.C. and find people that are energized, creative and passionate about making a positive difference in the world. I could not wait to re-connect with the larger community of reproductive justice advocates.
Then I wondered, why doesn’t justice just happen? Why is it that when we make laws, it is hard to remember that different people will be impacted differently? Why is it that some people work to purposefully restrict access to resources and rights for others? Why do we need to organize around a large variety of human rights issues? Why will many of us be able to make careers around protecting people’s rights to reproductive health, access and freedom?
Personally, I occasionally get distracted from the immediate work by larger questions of humanity. For instance, how did we arrive at the year 2010 without a healthy respect for each other? How are we still harboring the fear that there is just not enough for everyone and so we better just grab: grab power, grab resources, grab money? But the truth is, people have made progress in learning about and even appreciating one another in the last few hundred years. The important part is that I end the day with hope that we can continue to move forward and that I can make a difference, especially when I am given so many tools by LSRJ along my journey.