• Voices for Justice: Go!

    Posted by Micah

    28 June, 2011

    Voices for Justice participant, Adam, reflects on his time in Canberra last year

    In order to attend Voice for Justice last year I had to get two days off work (and as I as I was new at a new job at the time, it was all the leave I had); pay a fair amount of money for plane tickets, food, and conference registration; and visit a distant city to do something I have never done before without a single person I knew in sight. I do not regret it.

    So what did I learn?

    I have learnt that politicians are people, and not just the nameless, faceless cogs of government I thought they were. It is true - some MPs will not make waves, preferring to do what is politically convenient; yet others went far beyond the call of duty, organising our security passes and encouraging other MPs to meet us.

    I know now that lobbying does make a difference. To make big change I think you need public support and political support. Voices for Justice has secured a lot of political support. Rudd and Abbott described us as the nagging prophets asking for justice. I would say the description is quite apt. We should not limit our political influence to the way we vote, what maters more is how we engage the political process and how we act in-between elections.

    My time in Canberra has re-enforced the need to educate the community and get the general public fired up about social justice issues. It really bothers me that the government feels that they need to sneak overseas aid into budgets. Poverty should be at the forefront of the Christian political agenda. We have failed so hugely on this front it boggles the imagination.

    A lot of the participants at Voices for Justice were what I would call "career Christians" - aid and charity workers. We need more people like myself; a computer programmer. We need checkout chicks and tradies and business executives and 'working families' aware and concerned about global poverty and what we can do.

    Along these lines I have been challenged about my own commitment to social justice. I often keep the passionate, social justice sphere of my life apart from the social scene I engage in or my professional life. I don't do much to educate my friends, family or co-workers. I don't encourage them to engage with me on these issues through forums like my blog. I want to change this. Millions are counting on it.

    I attended Voices for Justice because last year I heard the story of someone else who went. I blogged about it quite a lot over the four days of the conference in the hope that the sheer volume of honest information would help others to make a decision about whether to go or not.

    So, If you are reading this in 2011, trying to make up your mind this is my advice to you: Go. You won't regret it either.

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    This is an adaptation of a post that originally appeared on Adam's 'unkingdom' blog. Click here to read Adam's blog post in full.

    Click here to register for Voices for Justice.