This past Saturday it was my pleasure to speak at the Free Austin Summit hosted by Allies Against Slavery. I was tasked with presenting the philosophical and theological groundwork for justice for those in attendance.
Justice is for the long haul. A specific cause can’t be a cut flower—something attractive but lacking deep roots—nor just another good thing to think about. The Pursuit of Justice must be built on a sustainable foundation. It must become a necessary thing, not just one more nice thing.
Addressing slavery in the world, or in a city, is very much concerned with addressing existing apathy by enlisting empathy. The foundations of a slave free city are the foundations of individuals grounding themselves in justice—in the reality of both human rights and human responsibilities, empathy and identification with the other, and a willingness to sacrifice in order that good come to all. Or, as Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, “To make good the cause of Freedom against Slavery you must be… Declarations of Independence walking.”