Editor, Index-Tribune:

We live in a wonderful and caring community, but I hope that some day soon we will have more social justice and less charity, for two reasons.

The first is an appreciation for folks who support the agencies that serve the most vulnerable among us. Well-intentioned, community-based organizations are working to support those in need by providing services. However, for our families to be vibrant and self-sufficient in our community, an approach that includes self-advocacy and education is what will provide people with the skills needed to advance.

A community that is dependent on charity will not advance and grow into an independent and self-sufficient society.

The second is a reflection about our collective values. I find it interesting that we rarely equate the need for charity with social injustice. I would think that, if we lived in a more just and equitable society, there would be less need for charity in our community.

For many years, I have seen how a significant amount of funding is provided to organizations to help the needy.

It often ends up going to programs that are merely reactive and not proactive. We need programs that offer opportunities for people to be self sufficient instead of being dependent on charity.

We need less charity. We need more social justice. This would require income equality, true civil rights, a sustainable living wage, affordable housing, affordable medical care, racial and gender equality and educational opportunities, to name a few.

We need a more inclusive approach in the community where we live.

Mario Castillo

El Verano