Our goal is to promote and defend social justice, liberation, and human rights for all people – especially those in disadvantaged and marginalized positions – through [re]education, critical inquiry, and in an intersectional way. Whether female, male, or non-binary, LGBTQIA+, religious or non-religious, young or old, no matter what part of the world one lives in or what ethnic heritage one may have, everyone has dignity and is deserving of equitable justice. This is our firm position and it is not up for debate.
[Re]education, critical inquiry, and intersectionality are crucial in the fight for social justice and liberation. First, we provide information regarding various social justice, liberation, and human rights issues via thoughtful discussion and research. Second, we aim to challenge existing ideologies (our own as well as others), institutional structures, societal customs and norms, the legitimacy of those in power, etc. Third, we highlight how different systems of oppression intersect with each other in order to offer a more holistic and realistic picture of the oppression people experience based on various aspects of their identities. Finally, we aim provide a safe space where oppressed, marginalized, and/or disadvantaged individuals and groups can raise their voices against all forms of injustice.
Five overarching and intersecting branches of social justice, liberation, and human rights focused on:
- Intersectional Feminism – Promoting women’s liberation on an individual, cultural, and institutional level through language, actions, ideology, and politics. We recognize women are disadvantaged and oppressed in many ways throughout the world, and this is largely due to patriarchy. However, we also acknowledge factors such as race, ethnicity, sexual identity, and class intersect with the patriarchal oppression women face and lead to unique combinations of oppression for every woman. It is time for all women to be heard, counted, respected, and represented; this includes lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, and intersex women, trans and gender queer women, women with impairments or disabilities, women in low socio-economic classes, women of all races, ethnicities, and nationalities, and so on.
- LGTBQIA+ Liberation – Promoting liberation and equitable justice for every member of the LGTBQIA+ community on an individual, cultural, and institutional level through language, actions ideology, and politics. We recognize this is a heteronormative and cissexist world where non heterosexual and non cisgender individuals face unique challenges. This includes anyone who identifies as LGTBQIA+ (lesbian, gay, trans, bisexual, queer, intersex, asexual, and more).
- Racial Justice – Promoting racial, ethnic, and national liberation and equitable justice for all disadvantaged racial and ethnic groups on an individual, cultural, and institutional level through language, actions, ideology, and politics. Race and ethnicity certainly overlap, but we also recognize there are differences.
- Western Imperialism and Decolonization – The Western World established their dominance over the rest of the world long ago during European expansion, or rather invasion, and colonization in the 15th century. Although much of the European empires have been disbanded, the Western World (including the non-European countries like the United States, Canada, and Australia) still maintains power over and exercises control of the rest of the world largely through global economic policies and international political practices. Thus the West as seamlessly segued from militaristic imperialism to economic and political imperialism. We work to expose cases of Western imperialism and shed light on groups and movements fighting against it. Additionally, we support the Indigenous Liberation and the Decolonization movement. Therefore, we actively recognize Indigenous sovereignty.
- Class Inequality – We recognize that the world is stratified and resources are unequally distributed. This unequal distribution of resources leads to inequality between various socioeconomic classes. Some people, therefore, are at a disadvantage due to their lack of access to important resources. We work to point out different ways in which people are disadvantaged through class inequality and offer possible solutions.
Issues pertaining to all five groups are valid and important, but we understand that these issues do not exist separately. Thus, we take an intersectional approach to social justice. “Intersectionality” was coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw and is defined as, “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage” (Oxford Dictionaries, “Intersectionality”). It is used to describe the ways systems of oppression are interconnected, and therefore why they cannot be examined separately. The reason for this is two-fold: (1) people’s identities are multi-faceted, and (2) the different disadvantages/marginalization experienced under each system of oppression overlap and are interdependent; in other words, people experience multi-layered oppression.
Additionally, we acknowledge that this list is not exhaustive.
Some Important Definitions:
Social justice – a process, not an outcome, which seeks equitable (re)distribution of resources, opportunities, privileges, and responsibilities within society. Social justice places the burden of rights allocation on institutions and the larger community rather than on individuals; i.e., individuals are not solely responsible for obtaining, exercising, and protecting their rights. Additionally, the process of social justice challenges the roots of oppression, injustice, and inequality that are within society and often exist at a foundational level in institutions, politics, cultures, and other social structures.
(this definition is BIAH’s own, but was formed from a conglomerate of definitions of social justice from UC Davis School of Education, the New Oxford American Dictionary, Aristotelian interpretations of social justice, and John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice)
Liberation – the idea of restructuring society and its institutions in a way that accommodates inherent differences and inequalities between people rather than attempting to assimilate disadvantaged or oppressed groups into existing [problematic] structures.
Human Rights – universal legal guarantees of protection for individuals and groups against actions which interfere with fundamental freedoms and human dignity (United Nations Declaration of Human Rights). Human rights are extremely important, especially for disadvantaged and oppressed people. However, it is important to note that human rights are allocated by states and other governing bodies, like the U.N. Human rights are achieved; they are not the same as social justice movements or liberation.
[Re]education – in a social justice context, [re]education means to educate oneself or others in an equitable way, which often requires re-learning history, social/political/economic processes, social scientific theories, etc. For example, the history of Indigenous people and groups was written by western invaders and colonists, and is therefore not an accurate representation of Indigenous folx, or their history and cultures.