Celebrating MLK Day - How Social Justice Impacts Social Wellness

Celebrating MLK Day - How Social Justice Impacts Social Wellness

The importance of social justice and its role in social wellness

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an opportunity to honor the legacy of a man who devoted his life to fighting for equal rights and social justice. It is also an important reminder of the impact equal rights and social justice have on our overall social wellness. 

MLK day provides a chance for us to pause and reflect on the progress that has been made and to recognize that there is still work to do. This article will explore the importance of social justice in promoting social wellness and provide some tips on how we can all support social justice initiatives. 

The importance of social justice and its role in social wellness 

Social justice is a concept that recognizes and values the dignity of every person and strives to create a just society. It acknowledges the need for everyone to be treated equally and with respect, no matter their race, gender, age, or sexual orientation. This concept is critical to our social wellness, as it is essential to creating an environment of justice and equity.   

We strengthen the social wellness of ourselves, our communities, and the nation when we accept that an equitable society cannot be achieved unless everyone is treated justly. MLK Day provides a great opportunity to reflect on the link between social justice and social wellness and to recommit to the pursuit of greater social justice for all individuals. 

A bold vision for social justice 

Our founding fathers espoused a bold vision “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Dr. King in his 1963 March on Washington speech affirmed the ideas articulated by our founding fathers. However, he went beyond affirming this bold vision to challenge us to deliver on the promise of the vision. In 2023 decades after this bold vision was initially declared, and after Dr. King’s 1963 speech, we are still being challenged as a nation to make this bold vision a reality.  

This year as we celebrate MLK day we have the opportunity for continued personal reflection and to act on ways to deliver on the ideas shared by our founding fathers and Dr. King. A starting point for our reflection is to understand what is meant by social justice and why the vision articulated by the founding fathers and affirmed by Dr. King is still worth pursuing. 

Social justice requires us to acknowledge and address the systemic inequalities that still exist in our society, and to do our part to create a fairer and more equitable society. It is about understanding the root causes of injustice and oppression and working to create lasting solutions. It is about working to create a world where everyone is free to pursue their dreams and reach their full potential, regardless of their background or circumstances. 

The fight for social justice is an essential part of achieving social wellness. Social justice initiatives can help to create a more equitable society, where everyone has access to the same resources and opportunities. 

Tips on how we can support social justice initiatives 

There are many ways to support social justice initiatives, both big and small. Here are a few tips on how we can all make a difference: 

  1. Stay informed and educate yourself and others. It is important to stay up to date on the issues facing our society and to understand the history of social justice. This can help us better understand the issues and how we can help. 
  2. Speak out and advocate. Speak out against discrimination and prejudice, and support those who are affected by it. Advocate for laws and policies that protect the rights of marginalized groups. 
  3. Vote. Voting is one of the most powerful ways to create change. Make sure to vote in local, state, and national elections. 
  4. Support and donate. Consider donating to organizations that are working to create a just society. Some of these organizations are National Rural Health Association, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (civilrights.org), Emerging Power Youth Program (commoncause.org)

Risk of not making the bold vision a reality 

We are at a crossroads as a nation. Collectively we yearn for acceptance and belonging, yet fail to appreciate that others also seek this same strong sense of community. More often than not, we operate from a scarcity mentality that someone else must lose in order for me to gain my desired sense of acceptance and belonging. Unless we find a pathway forward that supports a just society for all, social wellness will not be possible and we will continue to face a variety of negative outcomes as a nation, including: 

  • Increased poverty. A lack of social justice can lead to greater levels of poverty.  
  • Inequality. Inequality can lead to discrimination and social exclusion, which can have a lasting impact on people’s lives. 
  • Poor health outcomes. Without a just society, people are more likely to suffer from poor health outcomes due to a lack of access to healthcare and other resources. 
  • Violence and crime. In a society without social justice, violence and crime can become more common. 

It is critical we recognize the importance of social justice and the implications for the health of individuals and communities when we continue to perpetuate injustice. We must all work together to create and sustain the conditions for a just society. 


As we celebrate MLK Day, let us remember the importance of social justice and its role in social wellness. Supporting social justice can lead to positive social changes, such as increased access to education, improved healthcare, and better working conditions. It enhances individuals, communities, and nations when we value all our citizens and provide them maximize opportunities to make positive societal contributions. On this day of remembrance, let us also consider the obstacles that stand in the way of achieving a just society and support social justice initiatives. We can start by educating ourselves and others about social justice and support organizations that are working to create a more just society.  


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