A PASSIONATE PURSUIT FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE
By Kasha Slavner from Toronto, Canada
On this World Day of Social Justice, Diana Award recipient and award-winning teenage film-maker Kasha shares her story.
Kasha has been a dedicated advocate and entrepreneur since she was eight years old. At 13 she created an after school social justice club to fundraise, raise awareness and volunteer for local causes. At 15 she founded a media hub for social good.
20 February 2020
The World Day of Social Justice is an international call-to-action to stand up for human rights and eradicate inequities. The UN Observance of this day reminds us that one of the main foundations of peace, is social justice. Deeply rooted in the principal of social justice is the belief that all of humanity deserves to live with dignity and in order to do so, it requires the adoption and implementation of social protections. This year’s theme for World Social Justice Day is about closing the inequalities gap. The UN 2030 Agenda in their implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which have committed to leave no one behind is the social justice scale by which these matters will be weighed.
“As a GenZ documentary filmmaker, I’ve always been passionate about social justice”
As a GenZ documentary filmmaker, I’ve always been passionate about social justice. So much so that, at the age of 15, I founded a media hub for social good called The Global Sunrise Project. Under the projects’ umbrella, I create documentary films, photography exhibitions, social media campaigns & advocacy with a focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), and have also written a book on what it means to be a global citizen.
My work highlights the many ways grassroots activists are striving to find solutions to our world’s most pressing issues; everything from access to education for girls, human rights for refugees & indigenous peoples, poverty, gender inequality, the climate crisis, and the threat of nuclear annihilation. The stories serve as inspiration, providing testimony to the fact that no matter the circumstances, there are resilient people courageously rising above adversity, finding hope and taking action to create a better world.
My choice to focus on positive storytelling came from my own disillusion with what I was seeing reported in the news. Mass media can often be overwhelming, negative and sensationalized. The scale of the issues we’re facing is daunting and many youth feeling the weight of the world also wonder how they can make a difference.
“Seeing the mountain of issues in front of me, knowing I had to start somewhere, I began with the things I knew I could do“
While we see many youth mobilizing around the climate crisis and other issues, we cannot leave behind those who may still be unaware of their own potential to be powerful agents of change. Positive media can play a critical role in helping us shift this culture by shining a light on examples of what is possible to help motivate us all to take action.
In addition to screenings of my documentary, The Sunrise Storyteller, I run a civic engagement workshop called A GenZ’s Guide to Creating Social Change to provide students with knowledge about the SDG’s and empower them to take action on social justice issues that matter most to them. Often getting started is the hardest part of becoming a social justice advocate. There are, after all, 17 major global goals, each with a subset of issues that need to be addressed and acted upon by the year 2030 if we’re to achieve sustainability. With these many urgent issues to address, the work can appear to be insurmountable. In the workshop I deliver, students are guided through the basics of action planning. It’s amazing to see their excitement and confidence grow so quickly in this supportive environment.
There’s an African proverb “if you want to go quickly, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”.
Our responsibility as global citizens living in an interdependent world is to do something, anything, which contributes to the benefit of all, including standing up for those who don’t have the privilege of doing so for themselves. In the end, what we do personally and collectively all adds up.
If we harness our compassion, talent and the personal power we have, we can all contribute to eradicating injustice.