Equity and Social Justice, Definitions & Resources

Sep 20, 2021

by United Way NCA

Sept. 20, 2021

What does equity mean in terms of social justice? Learn more about equity and social justice and get involved in empowering your community with United Way NCA.

Social Justice and Equity

Equity means meeting community members where they are by providing resources to people that are proportionate to what they need in order to thrive. Social justice typically refers to fighting for fairness for historically oppressed people—especially Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) who have disproportionately faced institutional discrimination or systemic racism. Social justice and equity go hand in hand.

Like equity, equality aims to promote fairness and justice, but it can only work if every person starts from the same place and needs the same things—something that is not true of our current society. However, while equality and equity are not synonymous, both are needed in order to sustain social justice. If equality is providing resources equally across communities and groups of people, equity takes it a step further by understanding and giving people what they need to enjoy full, healthy lives.

Seeking equity is, by default, seeking social justice. For example, pursuing health equity means pursuing social justice in health, where no one is denied the possibility to be healthy because they belong to a group that has historically been excluded from accessing health resources. The same can be said for education, financial disparities, food and medical insecurities, mental health, housing and more.

For these reasons and more, United Way of the National Capital Area promotes equity for all community members through health, education and economic opportunity. We seek to be the ear for the voices in our communities eager to be heard. We believe everyone deserves hope, respect and a fair chance. When none are ignored, all will thrive.

How Can You Practice and Promote Equity and Social Justice in Your Community?

Your United Way is here to listen. We convene and collaborate with like-minded partners. We use our resources to be a catalyst for change. Our health programs increase equity in access to health resources. We work to reduce academic disparities and improve academic outcomes for young people in the National Capital Area. We’re actively seeking to provide residents with economic opportunity and removing barriers to stable and affordable housing.

With that in mind, this work needs you. By taking the below steps, you can begin promoting equity and social justice in our community.

Sign up for our 21 Day Race Equity Journey, a 21-day newsletter series, to learn more about how equity plays a role in determining outcomes of people through different stages of life depending on their intersections of race, gender, sexuality and/or socioeconomic standing.

Get involved! Reaching an equitable future for all community members necessitates action. By supporting nonprofits and programs like United Way NCA, you can make a difference. This can be done through monetary donations, corporate sponsorships of programs, volunteering, advocating and more.

Learn how. This fall, United Way NCA will launch our Practice Equity social media campaign to educate community members on different ways to practice equity daily. Follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn to stay tuned.

Join United Way NCA in the movement to achieve a more equitable future by visiting here.

When none are ignored, all will thrive.

About United Way of the National Capital Area

United Way of the National Capital Area improves the health, education and economic opportunity of every person in the National Capital community. United Way NCA has been improving lives by creating measurable impact in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties for more than 45 years. In 2020, United Way NCA was among 384 organizations across the United States to receive a generous transformational investment from novelist and venture philanthropist, MacKenzie Scott. For more information about United Way of the National Capital Area, visit UnitedWayNCA.org.

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