Journey to Justice

Economic (In)justice: systemic stress and the working poor – a personal take

by Tania Aubeelack

Whenever I look at my parents, my heart immediately fills up with a huge burst of gratitude and recognition for all the sacrifices they have made to help and support me and my brother achieve a good education and a kind of societal status that would somehow elevate our value in the eyes of others around us, those withholding the keys to opportunities, and access to major institutions. 

My parents gave us what they couldn’t have themselves: dreams and opportunities that weren’t present in their country of origin. My parents saw through us what they dreamed of, they wanted their children to have a decent job, status and money to be able to live, eat and sleep. This is such a noble and admirable selfless sacrifice that will always inspire me and feel me with deep love. 

The hard work of my mother, a social care worker and that of my father, a gardener, has shown me that even with the right work ethic, attitude, sacrifice and dedication to help your family succeed in moving up the vertical society ladder and better the lineage of generations to come, earning and saving money was always extremely difficult, tight and hard. It just never seemed to get better. My parents both had to juggle between many jobs at the same time and the stress was at times unbearable and still is. 

This ever-mounting stress didn’t make any sense: mum and dad were doing what they were told to do and as far as I recalled they never could afford to take a break or a holiday from constantly working. Poverty was omnipresent, it was there. It wouldn’t leave us for good. 

Poverty is systemic; the stressful life is systemic. This is what fuels the activist and humanist flame inside of me for systemic change and, therefore social justice for us, working people.  

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