I have a tattoo. I have more than one, but I have one in particular. The tattoo depicts scales that are balanced between an olive tree and a foreboding cityscape. Leading up to the scales, and disappearing into a vanishing point, a road winds its way into the horizon.
People commonly ask me if I’m a Libra. When I tell them no, they inevitably then ask about the tattoo which (clearly) was the reason they asked. I tell them what it really means, what really inspired the tattoo. It’s a principle at the core of my being.
A never-ending struggle for justice.
Justice can be many things to many people. Justice is often considered a validation for what one holds dear. To achieve what a person holds dear is proclaimed, “Justice!” Rarely does anyone consider that justice may result in an outcome that is not comfortable or desired bu that, by definition, is justice.
jus·tice noun \ˈjəs-təs\
the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments
The tattoo to me represents an eternal and ongoing struggle for justice. Justice, to me, is both legal and social. Equality in marriage. Employment and hiring rights. Civil rights.
As I sit here in the cradle of American democracy – Boston – I’ve had time to think about the Founding Fathers. I walked the Freedom Trail, beginning at Paul Revere’s home, and leading to the Old North Church where a pair of lanterns were hoisted into the church steeple to alert rebels in Charlestown across the river of the British arrival by sea. We know the story of that historic ride to Concord.
As I sit here in Boston and ponder the struggle for freedom that the patriots of that day engaged in, I am aware of the potentially fatal nature of that struggle as epitomized in the closing lines of the Declaration of Independence.
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
This has already been a long-winded post, but there is a point – and it has nothing to do with the normal topic of this blog. Civil rights has not made any significant advances in decades. While one can argue that the Civil War was a distant memory – a blight on American history (and it was), there are still those in the south who call it the War of Northern Aggression.
Abraham Lincoln, though considerably heroic in his legacy, was only able to accomplish what he did through the Emancipation Proclamation by getting creative. He could say, “All slaves are free” and he would not have a mandate with authority in the Union, much less the Confederacy. The only way he managed to use that as a tool and a rallying cry with any success is that there were many in the Union who could care less about slaves and were only interested in the preservation of the Union while others were abolitionists who cared about freeing slaves.
In order to achieve the goals necessary to both sides, the timing and essence of the Emancipation had to serve to unite both factions. That was, in fact, the genius of Lincoln.
Besides Civil Rights, we still have work to do on the Women in the Workforce side of things. Sure, President Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which enhances the ability of women to file lawsuits challenging unfair compensation. But that’s only a fraction of what needs to happen. Certainly, in the tech space, we need to eliminate Brogrammers and all their evil spawn. And that’s just in tech. Fortunately, Twitter is spearheading a project to get women into engineering. We need more of that.
And of course, equality in marriage is another topic that needs to be addressed.
But the point is, the struggle will always be there. With every achievement, there’s more to fight for. We need to fight and we need to push the issues. Be the change you want to see.
— Aaron Brazell