Vivek Maru, a legal empowerment advocate and the founder of Namati, an organization that aims to give more control to those who live outside of the protection of the law, delivered a speech on justice for his audience at a recent TED event.
Maru begins by telling the story of a man who lives on the western coast of India, who was forced to move, along with the rest of his community, due to the actions of a multinational corporation. The same company later built another factory on the area that the man had moved to, despite the strong regulations that the country adheres to. The dust and pollution from the factory negatively affected the community, and made people incredibly sick due to the contamination in their food, water, and air. Although the man appealed to the company for years, he was never able to have his voice heard. This caused him to publicly protest outside of the factory gates, where he planned to set himself on fire to attract attention. Luckily, he was arrested before he could do so, and later met with a paralegal that guided him through the necessary legal processes to have his voice hear.
With this heartbreaking story, Maru shows how rampant this kind desperation is for the many individuals and communities who aren't able to access the justice they deserve. As he shows, justice is often difficult to access because of system corruption, and a lack of exclamation by the officials who enforce changes that can so negatively affect people.
In order to ensure that everyone has access to justice, Maru explains that there must be people present in communities to educate people on the law, and to create an open dialogue that allows them to take action. Paralegals can be incredibly important figures in this process, and can get into contact with officials who are able to enact change. With his speech on justice, Maru shows the importance of granting everyone the information they need to understand the laws that protect them, and to have access to the paralegals who can help them to advocate for themselves.