Is there anyone who hasn’t heard a child, or an adult acting like a child, say, “It’s not fair”? Or how about the retort, “Well, sometimes life’s just not fair”? Sometimes there IS more ice cream in one bowl than another, or you DO have to work on a holiday, or someone else DOES get more credit than for something. It isn’t fair, but it also isn’t fatal. It’s more like a bump you have to endure along your journey. It really doesn’t matter.
That’s not the “fairness” for which we took our name, Delaware Valley Fairness Project. Ours is more the fairness that’s lacking for a child born into poverty, or for a wounded family without enough money for food and shelter. It’s what’s missing for the medically addicted, the mentally ill, the victims of discrimination and the countless unwanted in our communities. These are the people whose voices are silent but whose eyes tell us that it’s not fair, if we just look into them.
The unfairness these people suffer isn’t the bump in the road. It doesn’t go away after a day, week, or year. It’s life-defining, multi-generational, and what some would call systemic, And it’s harmful – to those who live it and to all the rest of us, too.
When unfairness flourishes, everyone is its victim. Consider drug addiction, violence, pan-handlers, the decrepit condition of streets and houses in economically distressed neighborhoods. Consider the taxes used to address these social conditions. Consider the fear engendered by the anger of the oppressed. These are the fruits of unfairness.
Delaware Valley Fairness Project’s mission is to lessen these effects by attacking their common root cause: poverty. Poverty limits human potential. Poverty limits human life span. It robs children of childhood. It crushes self-confidence. Poverty strips people of dignity. It gives rise to alternative means to survival, anti-social pathways to self-respect.
Poverty is unfair, and it is that unfairness we work against. Fairness matters because fairness would mean the end of poverty. Fairness means well-resourced schools for everyone, fair-paying jobs, and training to qualify for jobs. It means dignity for individuals, hope for families, childhood for children.
Fairness matters because everyone’s life becomes better. Dignity, hope, opportunity: better than drugs, violence, and slums. Think about it.