Monday, December 5, 2016

Bryan Stevenson and Just Mercy

At NCSS 2016 in Washington DC I had the amazing opportunity to see Mr. Bryan Stevenson speak and to meet him afterwards.

Stevenson is a Harvard Law School graduate who founded the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery Alabama.  From the EJI website, their mission is:
The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
The vulnerable people who Stevenson and the EJI help include low-income, minority, and children.   Stevenson became famous for his book called Just Mercy.  The book details Mr. Stevenson's journey from Law student to founding the EJI and the numerous cases which he has worked on.  It is a very powerful narrative that strongly makes the case that inequality in the United States is persistent among the most vulnerable groups in our society.

For Sociology, the book can be used to teach myriad concepts.  But the book might also be useful in other class like:  government, US history, law, criminal justice.

Here is a teaching guide:

Here is a review from the New Yorker.

Here is a review from the New York Times.

Here is Mr. Stevenson's Ted Talk.

At NCSS, Mr Stevenson spoke about 5 things that people need to do in order to create change in the world:

1. Be compassionate.
2. Get proximate.
3. Change the narrative.
4.  Stay hopeful.
5.  Be willing to be uncomfortable.

Here is Mr. Stevenson talking about staying hopeful:

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