Rethinking the Way We Communicate for Social Justice Change

Rethinking the Way We Communicate for Social Justice Change

Advancement Project partners with The Opportunity Agenda to launch ‘Social Justice Phrase Guide’

By Jennifer Farmer

Framing social justice discourse can be challenging. As a communicator, it is necessary to create smart and deliberate messages that do not disparage targeted audiences. That’s why Advancement Project has partnered with The Opportunity Agenda to create The Social Justice Phrase Guide, a new toolkit that helps communicators craft inclusive messages. Whether developing language for an organization, communicating with media platforms or engaging in personal discussions, The Social Justice Phrase Guide identifies best practices to make conscious communication decisions.

It is important that social justice communication strategies include solutions-based messaging. Unclear language can confuse audiences and muddle key social justice messages. Offensive or outdated terms, even if unintentional, can further distract from the messages you are trying to convey. The Social Justice Phrase Guide provides five guidelines to help communicators craft the most effective messages. Here’s a preview:

  • Talk about policies and solutions in realistic and accurate ways that spur the action social justice advocates want.
  • Lift up unity, participation and cooperation over division, extreme individualism and competition.  
  • Reinforce prosperity over scarcity.
  • Accurately and respectfully talk about people's identities, situations and roles in society.
  • Retire outdated and problematic phrases and metaphors.

Using The Social Justice Phrase Guide is not about political correctness – it’s about using our voices to uplift communities in the most productive way. Download the pamphlet so you can too: