Top social justice issues and organizations
September 10, 2008 1:07 PM   Subscribe

What are the most important social justice issues in the world today (such as AIDS, poverty, clean water, human trafficking, slavery, etc.) and what is one organization that is working in that field to make a difference?

I am giving a presentation on this topic, and specifically looking for organizations where "normal" people could learn about the issue and get involved to help change the biggest problems in the world.
posted by roaring beast to Society & Culture (15 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Gates Foundation
posted by greta simone at 1:10 PM on September 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Health care in extremely impoverished regions is a major problem. Partners in Health is an organization that works to solve it in ways that are sustainable. For example, they work to address problems such as inadequate shelter and the lack of a clean water supply, which contribute to health problems.
posted by greenmagnet at 1:31 PM on September 10, 2008

It should be noted that for a "normal" person, there isn't a lot you can do about Darfur, or Tibet, or Saudi Arabia, despite what 1 million bumper stickers would lead you to believe.

You can, however, be a tutor for a young child in worst parts of your city. Or check out a housing project outreach program.
posted by plexi at 1:33 PM on September 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

For just doling out funds I give generously to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and UNICEF as I tend to think they accomplish a great deal.
posted by plexi at 1:37 PM on September 10, 2008

posted by lunit at 1:43 PM on September 10, 2008

Social justice is one of the most malleable terms in the poltiical vocabulary and is generally assigned to either anything vaguely leftish or anything to do with foreign aid; consider the fact that two organizations that claim to pursue "social justice" may well be working at cross-purposes on a particular issue.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 1:51 PM on September 10, 2008

Amnesty International - ordinary people campaigning for human rights around the world. The focus of campaigning has changed a bit over the years, but there are a lot of local groups still working directly for the release of specific individuals. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but it certainly brings home the reality of what human rights is about.
posted by crocomancer at 1:53 PM on September 10, 2008

If you can handle the religious nature of their mission, Catholic Relief Services and Caritas International are on the ground almost anywhere there is poverty and/or natural disasters. They also have a very high percentage of donated funds that go to programs.
posted by odragul at 1:55 PM on September 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Violence against women happens in every country in the world, and is an issue that ordinary men and women everywhere can work on both locally (for example by challenging attitudes, and fighting for better local support systems for women who are battered, abused and sexually assaulted) and internationally.

In Iran women are fighting for equality in the face of laws that value their testimony as worth half of that of a man's, and allow girls as young as 13 to be married off.

In Zimbabwe , women are working together to defend themselves against violence and increase the standing of women in society.

Internationally, the United Nations Security Council has recently recognized sexual violence in conflict zones as a matter of international peace and security.
posted by vodkaboots at 2:05 PM on September 10, 2008

The Millennium Goals were established by the United Nations to reduce extreme poverty in the world by 2015. That's pretty lofty! Here's more info.
posted by cmchap at 2:57 PM on September 10, 2008

Middle East Children's Alliance, helping the victims of Zionist aggression
posted by TheRaven at 4:13 PM on September 10, 2008

International Rescue Committee and Doctors without Borders. Both do actually help in horrible situations like Darfur.

And are very highly rated and help people fleeing natural or man-made disasters. Personal note: and the IRC helped my Dad when he fled the Hungarian revolution. Oddly enough, my maternal grandfather did a lot of work for them and wrote a book detailing their history-- but my parents met later.
posted by Maias at 6:03 PM on September 10, 2008

I know several people involved with Love 146, which is an organization dedicated to combating child trafficking. (The org is bigger and more legitimate than the site makes it seem, so don't let that dissuade you.)
posted by greenland at 11:45 PM on September 10, 2008

This speech doesn't address solely human justice issues, but is interesting food for though in terms of what global priorities are right now:

TED Talk--- Bjorn Lomborg: Our priorities for saving the world

posted by inactivist at 10:03 PM on September 11, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone!
posted by roaring beast at 11:05 AM on September 12, 2008

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