Justice for all

Photo of Robin Harris Kimbrough

Dr. Robin Harris Kimbrough

In our Pledge of Allegiance, we close out with these words, “with liberty and justice for all.” With the jury verdict in the murder of Trayvon Martin, it has left many questioning whether liberty and justice is really for all people. Although many people are outraged by the injustice of Trayvon’s death, we need to seize the opportunity to talk about other injustices, and other acts of unfairness in our communities. The matter in Miami has renewed the conversation about racism, racial profiling/ stereotyping, and valuing one human life over the other, and other injustices. We need to remember in these discussions that justice is truly for all. All of us have a responsibility to respond to any injustice, which undermines the value of any human life.

Regardless of what we look like, how we talk, or our gender or racial classification, it should not devalue who we are as humans or deny us our right to live, and to live free of violence. Like the many who are speaking out about the injustice of Trayvon Martin, we need to let our voices be heard on other injustices in our society. We need justice for all, including Trayvon Martin. We need justice for innocent children being killed in the streets of Chicago. We need justice for our children who are stereotyped as not being able to learn or to perform as well as their other counterparts. We need justice for abused and battered women who are forced to flee from violent situations with their children. We need justice for people who are without healthcare, while others have the privilege of going to the doctor for minor ailments. The uninsured cannot even go for life-threatening emergencies.

We need justice for all. All of us need to become bold and support fairness, equality, and justice for all. This demand for justice is not merely based upon ethics or morality or found in our Pledge of Allegiance or a courtroom—it is a theological truth in the Bible. As God revealed to Amos the prophet in his discourse regarding Israel’s fate, at the end of the day, right will prevail: “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream,” Amos 5:24. For justice to roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream, it is up to us to act and to demand justice, even when it feels uncomfortable.

Sometimes people are afraid to deal with what is right, because they benefit from people being treated unjustly. They fear losing power and being denied access even at the cost of sacrificing someone else who looks like them. This is not justice for all; this is justice for one. For us to realize justice is for all, we have to think about someone besides ourselves. Justice for all is theological because it requires more than what we can do in our human capabilities—it requires the grace of God. It requires God’s love to recognize power and share it. It takes God’s grace to forgive and forget.

Until we are willing to take these bold steps in our faith, justice will remain only in the possession of a few. The truth is justice is for all. God has given us the power to break chains, which weigh down the scales of justice. If we are willing to be the voice for the voiceless, we, regardless of how God has made us, can break every chain of racism, classism, sexism, hatred, disunity, and other enemies of liberty and justice. Then justice will be for all, and it will roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Liberty and justice for all.