Injustice is a Virus: No One is Safe before Everyone is Safe

by Cordelia Wei, 7th Grade, CO

Imagine you are playing on a playground. Suddenly a child you don’t know gets bullied. You think, “Oh well, I don’t know that child. I don’t have to stand up for him.” But since the bullies don’t get caught, they start bullying other people. Eventually, they come for you. Nobody would stand up for you, because they think the same way as you did.

This is precisely what happened in Nazi Germany during World War 2. The Nazi Party first persecuted the Jews. Many people didn’t mind because they were safe themselves. And if their neighbors were Jewish and sent to concentration camps, they could take their houses and belongings. Without resistance, the Nazis started persecuting the socialists, then the trade unions, then Christians, until everyone’s life was jeopardized. Martin Niemöller, a Lutheran pastor who witnessed the war and was imprisoned by Hitler, wrote the following poem:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

This is why Martin Luther King Jr said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Since 2020, we have experienced the COVID. In a way, injustice is like a virus. No one is safe before everyone is safe. The spread of injustice, like a virus, will ultimately undermine the entire community. When humankind is faced with common threat, only collaborative efforts and humanitarian compassion unite us all.