bryan stevenson

bryan stevenson bw

[montgomery, al]

intro’d to Bryan here:

We need to talk about an injustice

In an engaging and personal talk — with cameo appearances from his grandmother and Rosa Parks — human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares some hard truths about America’s justice system, starting with a massive imbalance along racial lines: a third of the country’s black male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives. These issues, which are wrapped up in America’s unexamined history, are rarely talked about with this level of candor, insight and persuasiveness.

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, fighting poverty and challenging racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.

with identity.. we can get others to do things they don’t think they can do..

mass incarceration has fundamentally changed our world – 72 – 300,000 people in jails/prisons.to now 2012 – 2.3 million

treats you much better if you’re rich and guilty than poor and innocent..

we’ve been disconnected

the us is the only country in the world where we sentence 13 yr old children to die in prison

not so much whether people deserve to die, but rather do we deserve to kill

The question is not do people deserve to die for the crimes they’ve committed, but do we deserve to kill?” – Bryan Stevenson

1/9 people innocent on death row

threat of terror in our history.. terrorism first time after 9/11 – not first time

germany – we could never have the death penalty – because of our history… and yet in this country.. we execute the death penalty.. (from book – death penalty answer to lynching)

orientation of the spirit.. won’t be fully human until we pay attention to poverty, oppression,

we need to be brave brave brave… our humanity depends on everyone’s humanity…

each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.. ie: if you lie, not just a liar, if you kill, not just a killer

in too many places.. the opposite of poverty is not wealth, in too many places it is justice..

the capacity to everyone to contribute to community

next 5 yrs – 1 bill on death penalty in ca

violent crime rate has stayed level.. the great increase of mass incarceration was the misguided war on drugs.. we got carried away with the rhetoric of punishment

reading/read just mercy and Pinker at same time..

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hard to keep reading the book.. let alone imagine living it. beat the drum. mercy.

just mercy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

book links to amazon

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notes/highlights:

He showed none of the disconnect between what he did and what he believed

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Location 82). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

..capital punishment means.. them without the capital get the punishment.’

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Location 85). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I had no right to expect anything from a condemned man on death row. Yet he gave me an astonishing measure of his humanity. In that moment, Henry altered something in my understanding of human potential, redemption, and hopefulness.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 190-192). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I had been struggling my whole life with the question of how and why people are judged unfairly.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Location 201). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

“You can’t understand most of the important things from a distance, Bryan. You have to get close,” she told me all the time.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 221-222). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Proximity to the condemned, to people unfairly judged; that was what guided me back to something that felt like home.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 223-224). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

how easily we condemn people in this country and the injustice we create when we allow fear, anger, and distance to shape the way we treat the most vulnerable among us.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 225-226). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

in December 1983, America was in the early stages of a radical transformation that would turn us into an unprecedentedly harsh and punitive nation and result in mass imprisonment that has no historical parallel

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 228-229). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

The prison population has increased from 300,000 people in the early 1970s to 2.3 million people today. There are nearly six million people on probation or on parole. One in every fifteen people born in the United States in 2001 is expected to go to jail or prison; one in every three black male babies born in this century is expected to be incarcerated. We have shot , hanged, gassed, electrocuted, and lethally injected hundreds of people to carry out legally sanctioned executions. Thousands more await their execution on death row. Some states have no minimum age for prosecuting children as adults; we’ve sent a quarter million kids to adult jails and prisons to serve long prison terms, some under the age of twelve.For years, we’ve been the only country in the world that condemns children to life imprisonment without parole; nearly three thousand juveniles have been sentenced to die in prison.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 230-234). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

We’ve created laws that make writing a bad check or committing a petty theft or minor property crime an offense that can result in life imprisonment.We have declared a costly war on people with substance abuse problems.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 237-238). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

We have created a new caste system that forces thousands of people into homelessness, bans them from living with their families and in their communities,

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 246-247). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Spending on jails and prisons by state and federal governments has risen from $ 6.9 billion in 1980 to nearly $80 billion today.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 253-254). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I’ve represented mentally disabled people whose illnesses have often landed them in prison for decades.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 270-271). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

We are all implicated when we allow other people to be mistreated. An absence of compassion can corrupt the decency of a community, a state, a nation.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 280-281). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

we all need mercy, we all need justice, and— perhaps—we all need some measure of unmerited grace.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 283-284). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

ch 1 – mockingbird players

mockingjay ness

ch 2 – stand

In the 1970s, the Attica Prison riots drew national attention to horrible prison abuses. The takeover of Attica by inmates allowed the country to learn about cruel practices within prisons such as solitary confinement, where inmates are isolated in a small confined space for weeks or months. Prisoners in some facilities would be placed in a “sweatbox,” a casket-sized hole or a box situated where the inmate would be forced to endure extreme heat for days or weeks. Some prisoners were tortured with electric cattle prods as punishment for violations of the prison’s rule. Inmates at some facilities would be chained to “hitching posts,” their arms fastened above their heads in a painful position where they’d be forced to stand for hours. The practice, which wasn’t declared unconstitutional until 2002, was one of many degrading and dangerous punishments imposed on incarcerated people.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 535-542). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Despite the reforms of the 1970s and early 1980s, inmate death in jails and prisons was still a serious problem. Suicide, prisoner-on-prisoner violence, inadequate medical care, staff abuse, and guard violence claimed the lives of hundreds of prisoners every year.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 558-560). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

what bothered me most was the moment when the officer drew his weapon and I thought about running. I was a twenty-eight-year-old lawyer who had worked on police misconduct cases. I had the judgment to speak calmly to the officer when he threatened to shoot me. When I thought about what I would have done when I was sixteen years old or nineteen or even twenty-four, I was scared to realize that I might have run. The more I thought about it, the more concerned I became about all the young black boys and men in that neighborhood. Did they know not to run? Did they know to stay calm and say, “It’s okay”?

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 644-648). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I couldn’t stop thinking about how at risk young kids are when they get stopped by the police.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Location 659). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I argued that police could improve public safety without abusing people.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 675-676). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

“You’ve got to beat the drum for justice.”

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 696-697). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

thinking … beyond justice. think of your own song ness. mercy. just mercy. yeah. beat that drum.

Pearson was determined to leave office with a victory and likely saw the prosecution of Walter McMillian as one of the most important cases of his career.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 886-887). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

aaron ness

By the mid-1980s, nearly 20 percent of the people in jails and prisons in the United States had served in the military.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 1145-1146). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Maybe thinking about the procedural absurdities of the Court’s order was less overwhelming than thinking about its meaning.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 1300-1301). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

ch 6 (story in ted excerpt below):

http://ideas.ted.com/2014/10/29/how-americas-justice-system-failed-our-children/

Only a handful of countries permitted the death penalty for children—and the United States was one of them.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 1787-1788). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

ch 7

The expansion of victims’ rights ultimately made formal what had always been true: Some victims are more protected and valued than others.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 2212-2213). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

ch 8

She delivered her baby while handcuffed to a bed. It wasn’t until 2008 that most states abandoned the practice of shackling or handcuffing incarcerated women during delivery.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 2332-2333). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

In 2014, Trina turned fifty-two. She has been in prison for thirty-eight years. She is one of nearly five hundred people in Pennsylvania who have been condemned to mandatory life imprisonment without parole for crimes they were accused of committing when they were between the ages of thirteen and seventeen. It is the largest population of child offenders condemned to die in prison in any single jurisdiction in the world.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 2341-2344). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Juveniles housed in adult prisons are five times more likely to be the victims of sexual assault, so the staff at Apalachee put Ian, who was small for his age, in solitary confinement.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 2353-2354). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

“When this crime was committed, he was a child, a thirteen-year-old boy with a lot of problems, no supervision, and no help available. We are not children.”

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 2374-2375). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

By 2010, Florida had sentenced more than a hundred children to life imprisonment without parole for non-homicide offenses, several of whom were thirteen years old at the time of the crime. All of the youngest condemned children— thirteen or fourteen years of age—were black or Latino. Florida had the largest population in the world of children condemned to die in prison for non-homicides.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 2376-2379). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

At fourteen, Antonio became the youngest person in the United States condemned to die in prison for a crime in which no one was physically injured.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 2417-2418). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

George sat alone in front of an estimated crowd of fifteen hundred white people

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 2443-2444). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Eighty-one days after being approached by two young girls about where flowers might be found, George Stinney was pronounced dead.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Location 2455). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

a white man from a prominent family confessed on his deathbed to killing the girls.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Location 2456). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I agreed to represent Trina , Ian, and Antonio, and our office would eventually make challenging death-in-prison sentences imposed on children a major focus of our work. But it became immediately clear that their extreme, unjust sentences were just one of the problems that had to be overcome.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 2480-2482). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

bigger than all of this… we need a better way. to live.

He was trying to acculturate himself to a world that corrupted healthy human development in every way.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 2488-2489). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

being smart and sensitive made his extended time in solitary confinement especially destructive,

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Location 2492). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Please tell me how many photos I can get? I want those photos of myself, almost as bad as I want my freedom. (let people know i am alive) Thank you for making a lot of the positive occurrences that are happening in my life possible. I don’t know exactly how the law led you to me, but I thank God it did. I appreciate everything you and EJI are doing for me.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Location 2514-2517). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

ch 9

They seemed increasingly hostile whenever they had to deal with us.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 2534-2535). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

ch 10

America’s prisons have become warehouses for the mentally ill.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Location 2886). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

By the middle of the twentieth century, abuses within mental institutions generated a lot of attention, and involuntary confinement of people became a significant problem. Families, teachers, and courts were sending thousands to institutions for eccentricities that were less attributable to acute mental illness than resistance to social, cultural, or sexual norms.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 2897-2899). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Jail and prison became the state’s strategy for dealing with a health crisis created by drug use and dependency.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 2913-2914). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Today, over 50 percent of prison and jail inmates in the United States have a diagnosed mental illness, a rate nearly five times greater than that of the general adult population.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 2915-2917). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

“an orientation of the spirit.” The kind of hope that creates a willingness to position oneself in a hopeless place and be a witness, that allows one to believe in a better future, even in the face of abusive power . That kind of hope makes one strong.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 3416-3417). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

State and federal courts have persistently insulated prosecutors from accountability for egregious misconduct that results in innocent people being sent to death row.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 3838-3839). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

He developed multiple sclerosis,

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4018-4019). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

is this common..? developing ms?

But there was another industry in town—incarceration.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4032-4033). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Between 1990 and 2005, a new prison opened in the United States every ten days. Prison growth and the resulting “prison-industrial complex”— the business interests that capitalize on prison construction— made imprisonment so profitable that millions of dollars were spent lobbying state legislators to keep expanding the use of incarceration to respond to just about any problem. Incarceration became the answer to everything— health care problems like drug addiction, poverty that had led someone to write a bad check, child behavioral disorders, managing the mentally  disabled poor, even immigration issues generated responses from legislators that involved sending people to prison. Never before had so much lobbying money been spent to expand America’s prison population, block sentencing reforms, create new crime categories, and sustain the fear and anger that fuel mass incarceration than during the last twenty-five years in the United States.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4034-4041). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Almost all of the cases involved condemned people marked by the tragic irony that they were now nothing like the confused children who had committed a violent crime; they had all changed in some significant way.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4134-4136). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

it was clear that these shocking and senseless crimes couldn’t be evaluated honestly without understanding the lives these children had been forced to endure.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4150-4151). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I thought about how wrong the world is about Joe Sullivan

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Location 4257). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I was having an increasingly difficult time managing it all.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4390-4391). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

need a better way. something deeper. all inclusive. and now. preventing and healing.

Courts are deeply resistant to reviewing claims once a condemned prisoner has completed the appeals process the first time.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4414-4415). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

He would never have been convicted of capital murder if he had just had the money for a decent lawyer. He would never have been sentenced to death if someone had investigated his past.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4462-4463). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Why do we want to kill all the broken people ?

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Location 4470). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

The lack of compassion I witnessed every day had finally exhausted me. I looked around my crowded office, at the stacks of records and papers, each pile filled with tragic stories, and I suddenly didn’t want to be surrounded by all this anguish and misery.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4473-4475). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

You can’t effectively fight abusive power, poverty, inequality, illness, oppression, or injustice and not be broken by it.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4489-4490). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

We’ve become so fearful and vengeful that we’ve thrown away children, discarded the disabled, and sanctioned the imprisonment of the sick and the weak— not because they are a threat to public safety or beyond rehabilitation but because we think it makes us seem tough, less broken.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4502-4504). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

There is no wholeness outside of our reciprocal humanity.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4508-4509). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

When you experience mercy, you learn things that are hard to learn otherwise. You see things you can’t otherwise see ; you hear things you can’t otherwise hear. You begin to recognize the humanity that resides in each of us.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4515-4517). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

The power of just mercy is that it belongs to the undeserving. It’s when mercy is least expected that it’s most potent—strong enough to break the cycle of victimization and victimhood, retribution and suffering. It has the power to heal the psychic harm and injuries that lead to aggression and violence, abuse of power, mass incarceration.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4575-4577). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

ch 16

The Court’s decision meant that no child accused of any crime could ever again be automatically sentenced to die in prison. Over two thousand condemned people sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for crimes when they were children were now potentially eligible for relief and reduced sentences.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4589-4591). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

For the first time in close to forty years, the country’s prison population did not increase in 2011.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4626-4627). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

In 2012, the United States saw the first decline in its prison population in decades.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Location 4627). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Almost banning the death penalty through a popular referendum in an American state would have been unimaginable just a few years earlier.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4630-4631). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I believe that there are four institutions in American history that have shaped our approach to race and justice but remain poorly understood. The first, of course, is slavery.

1\ slavery

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4638-4639). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

..followed by the reign of terror that shaped the lives of people of color following the collapse of Reconstruction until World War II. Older people of color in the South would occasionally come up to me after speeches to complain about how antagonized they feel when they hear news commentators talking about how we were dealing with domestic terrorism for the first time in the United States after the 9/ 11 attacks.

2\ terror

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4639-4642). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

The racial terrorism of lynching in many ways created the modern death penalty.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4644-4645). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

America’s embrace of speedy executions was, in part, an attempt to redirect the violent energies of lynching while assuring white southerners that black men would still pay the ultimate price.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4645-4646). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Convict leasing was introduced at the end of the nineteenth century to criminalize former slaves and convict them of nonsensical offenses so that freed men, women, and children could be “leased” to businesses and effectively forced back into slave labor. Private industries throughout the country made millions of dollars with free convict labor, while thousands of African Americans died in horrific work conditions. The practice of re -enslavement was so widespread in some states that it was characterized in a Pulitzer Prize– winning book by Douglas Blackmon as Slavery by Another Name.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4646-4651). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

“Jim Crow,” is the legalized racial segregation and suppression of basic rights that defined the American apartheid era. … the legacy of racial profiling..

3\ jim crow

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Location 4655). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Of course innocent mistakes occur, but the accumulated insults and indignations caused by racial presumptions are destructive in ways that are hard to measure.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4669-4671). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

mass incarceration. Going into any prison is deeply confusing if you know anything about the racial demographics of America. The extreme overrepresentation of people of color, the disproportionate sentencing of racial minorities, the targeted prosecution of drug crimes in poor communities, the criminalization of new immigrants and undocumented people,..

4\ mass incarceration

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4673-4675). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

We decided to create a re-entry program to assist these clients. EJI’s program was specifically developed for people who have spent many years in prison after being incarcerated when they were children.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4698-4699). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I decided that I was supposed to be here to catch some of the stones people cast at each other.”

…stonecatchers…

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4795-4796). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I often had this feeling when I worked on Walter’s case, that if the anguish of all the stressed lives, the pain of all of the oppressed people in all of the menaced spaces of Monroe County could be gathered in some carefully constructed receptacle, it could power something extraordinary, operate as some astonishing alternative fuel capable of igniting previously impossible action.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4836-4839). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Walter made me understand why we have to reform a system of criminal justice that continues to treat people better if they are rich and guilty than if they are poor and innocent.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4862-4863). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Walter had taught me that mercy is just when it is rooted in hopefulness and freely given.

conditional trust as oxymoron

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4869-4870). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

With more than two million incarcerated people in the United States, an additional six million people on probation or parole and an estimated sixty-eight million Americans with criminal records, there are endless opportunities for you to do something about criminal justice policy or help the incarcerated or formerly incarcerated.

Stevenson, Bryan (2014-10-21). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Kindle Locations 4898-4900). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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find/follow Bryan:

wikipedia small

Bryan A. Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a private, non-profit organization headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama, and is a professor at New York University School of Law. He has gained national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color in the criminal justice system. Stevenson has assisted in securing relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, advocated for poor people and developed community-based reform litigation aimed at improving the administration of criminal justice.

He spoke at TED2012 in Long Beach, California, and received the strongest standing ovation ever seen at TED. Following his presentation, over $1 million was raised by attendees to fund a campaign run by Stevenson to end the practice of putting children in adult jails and prisons. 

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the Equal Justice Initiative:

equal justice initiative

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2013:

bryan stevenson on colbert report

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read more about Bryan:

bryan stevenson post

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Bryan at nyu:

bryan stevenson at nyu

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nov 2014 – on ferguson and Bryan’s new book – just mercy:

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/11/20/just_mercy_bryan_stevenson_on_ferguson

like they’re acting out this script that’s exactly the opposite of what we should do

opposite of poverty is justice. poverty is a function of our unwillingness to do justice.

we haven’t created an environment where people of color can be fully protected. we’ve told lies about people of color: aren’t smart, aren’t hard working… turned into decades of racial terror – to sustain racial hierarchy. because we haven’t dealt with it we now live in an era of mass incarceration.

for every 10 we’ve found 1 that was innocent.

our indifference to wrongful conviction is still very strong

on just mercy – we have too little compassion in our justice system. we’ve forgotten that it’s not mercy/justice/compassion – when we’ve done it to people haven’t done anything wrong.

young people in prison – 250000 serving for something they did as children.. 1000’s of children there now.. solitary et al. we created these narratives about children saying that some children are not children.

we haven’t confronted the need to protect children once they are in prison. us and somalia. we protect child status – except when they’re accused of a crime. ie: can’t vote, drink, drive, et al..  a shame what we have done to children in the vain of being tough on crime.

if most people saw what i see – they’d be outraged.

just mercy:

http://www.amazon.com/Just-Mercy-Story-Justice-Redemption/dp/0812994523

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earlier notes:

friday, march 9, 2012

bryan stevenson

EJI Director Bryan Stevenson Speaks at TED | Equal Justice Initiative1972: 300000 in jails and prisons
today:  2.3 mill
7 mill on parolehopelessness shaped by these outcomeswhere are we in our identity.. not, do people deserve to die, but, do we deserve to kill1 of 9 on death row are innocent..there is not disconnect around tech and design until we choose to connect with sufferingyou’re going to be
tired tired tired
that’s why you have to be
brave brave braveultimately our humanity depends on everyone’s humanityeach of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.
the opposite of poverty is not wealth, it’s justice.identity.. the capacity for everyone to contributegoing to spend 1 bill on the death penalty in the next 5 yrs
increase incarceration was a misguided war on drugsour current punishment philosophy does nothing for no one.
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feb 2015 – america’s mandela:
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/01/bryan-stevenson-americas-mandela
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june 2015 interview
https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/06/24/bryan-stevenson-on-charleston-and-our-real-problem-with-race
The whole narrative of white supremacy was created during the era of slavery. It was a necessary theory to make white Christian people feel comfortable with their ownership of other human beings. …It was New York’s governor — in the 1860s — that was talking about the inferiority of the black person even as he was opposed to slavery. …. Lots of countries had slaves, but they were mostly societies with slaves. We became something different, we became a slave society.
[..]
I don’t believe slavery ended in 1865, I believe it just evolved. It turned into decades of racial hierarchy that was violently enforced — from the end of reconstruction until WWII — through acts of racial terror. And in the north, that was tolerated.
[..]
You don’t have to have owned a slave to be complicit in the institution of slavery, to have benefitted and have cheaper food to buy, cheaper materials, cheaper services, because the providers of the foods and services were using free slave labor. We were all complicit in the institution of slavery, and the same is true in the era of racial terror and lynching. … Lynchings were not acts directed at particular individuals, they were acts directed at the entire African American community. And in that respect it was racial terror. A white person being hanged was not the same as an African American being lynched.
[..]
the African Americans in these communities did not come as immigrants looking for economic opportunities, they came as refugees, exiles from lands in the South where they were being terrorized. And those communities have particular needs we’ve never addressed, we’ve never talked about.
refugee ness
have to consciously work on freeing ourselves from this history.
[..]
You don’t have to say that I believe that white people are better than black people to be complicit in this problem. It wasn’t just the Nazis, it was the entire German government that is responsible for what happened during the Holocaust. And so, I think sometimes when we try to make it all seem like it was just a handful of bad and dangerous white people that are responsible for all of this, we miss the point. The lynching phenomenon was carried out by the entire community.
[..]
While they are absolutely a particular threat, the bigger challenge is getting the rest of us to own up to this.
[..]
we haven’t actually done the hard work of genuinely becoming non-discriminatory, which is why these police officers and these judges and these prosecutors and the political leaders from the last five decades don’t feel like they have to apologize for acting in a racially biased manner.
and/or discriminatory enough, ie: thumbprint ness.
prejudice decreases as discrimination increases… ness
[..]
So the narrative of racial difference in this country is so insidious that electing an African American president means that that president has to speak less about the challenges of African American people than someone white.
this systemic/all-invasive toxin ness (of not seeing the human first) seen from a different/same angle via video of Kalief‘s mom, june 2015 ..
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Bryan is in the (tail end of) internet’s own boy
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clip on human movie:
opposite of poverty is justice
i’ve never met a person who i could say this person is beyond redemption/hope/restoration
more people have said what can i do to help you in the last 14 hrs.. than first 13 yrs..  we did something profoundly immoral

elevating those impulses w/in all of us that recognize compassion…redemption.. restoration

i know you ness

death penalty is a distraction from important human journey that gets us closer to one another

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oct 2015 – talk at zeitgeist minds – Boldly Going
i could give similar data (as for incarceration) for problems w/ie: education, homelessness, et al
i think these 4 things can create a better world..
1\ proximity – get proximate to problems in our world..  we’ve been taught to keep our distance from problems
9 min – who’s responsible for this.. we are.. 
deep enough
2\ narrative – change narrative that sustains these problems
on coming as refugees and exiles from terror – for decades we humiliated people of color
shame ness
on the other side of this narrative is freedom
3\ hope – protect our hopefulness about what we can do – you only succeed when you believe things you have not seen
4\ discomfort – do uncomfortable things

get proximate. change the narrative. protect hopefulness.

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oct 2015 – interview w/ katie couric – 7 min
ews.yahoo.com/video/stevenson-u-prison-system-hurting-180616852.html
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@eji_org
You can now watch the full @SuperSoulSunday episode with @Oprah interviewing Bryan Stevenson here:supersoul.tv/supersoul-sund…
each person is more than the worst thing they’ve ever done…
a just/involve/compassionate society has to figure out what those other things are … make sure we ..understand that part of each person
danger of single story

4 min – if most people saw what i see on a regular basis..they would think differently about the world..

last 40 yrs – politics of fear and anger.. been pushed to think that way

7 min  – slavery didn’t end in 1800.. just evolved..

o: how do we speak to the souls with each other without blame

9 min – kind of child abuse.. telling your children they’re better than others

9 min – we’ve become a nation that throws you away w/o much thought

10 min – violent crime rate same as 60s before 2.3 mill incarcerated  – via tough on crime ness

11 min – we have too many kids living in the margins of society .. with only hope of going to prison

15 min – what proximity does for us.. i won’t get to higher ground w/o him getting to higher ground

19 min – in situations like this.. learn about the power of hope.. learn you need to be informed.. and that won’t make a difference w/o conviction.. you have to do the thing… that advances justice

21 min – our society wants to execute our hide away broken people…. but we’ve all fallen down at some point… when we learn to acknowledge our brokenness… we learn what it means.. and what it means to stand up

24 min – the pain and shame (of what we do to death rowers) made me believe that we can do better

question of death penalty isn’t do people deserve to die.. but do we deserve to kill.

we have a system of justice that treat you better if you’re rich and guilty than poor and innocent

26 min – it really isn’t about what people deserve.. it’s about us..

30 min – look for ways to embrace everyone

31 min – mercy/compassion.. not something we give because they deserve… it’s the way we find mercy/compassion… it’s made me want to understand the people who are hostile with me.. it’s made me not want to believe that the people behind those threats are just enemies/haters/bigoters.. it’s fear.. fear makes you do crazy things…
33 min – we have to believe that every person can get to a better place… i’ve never met a person who i could say.. this person is beyond hope.. we should accept redemption as something we have to seek
34 min – we should never give up on children…
we did something really disgraceful in 80s when we called some super predators
35 min – when we see injustice.. we need to step in.. we have to adopt a diff metric system..
you measure by how many stones you catch (those cast first stone ness)
mercy is like a mirror – what you give to others who don’t deserve it w/hope it’ll come back to you
opposite of poverty is not wealth… it’s justice.. that’s how we deconstruct poverty
poverty
you measure depth of your soul/spirituality by how well you treat the poor/incarcerated/condemned
grace is power.. love is justice…
________________
Taryn Simon
________________
connected..
cure violence keri

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perhaps a nother way to leapfrog to a global do-over

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Google, thank you for granting $1M for Bryan Stevenson’s important work.
https://t.co/TgUzsM85rm

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/nilofer/status/703618953973768192

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@SkollFoundation

“These shootings are symptoms of a larger disease.” @eji_org Bryan Stevenson on @CBSThisMorning cbsn.ws/29C20Mj #History

never dealt with this presumption of danger/guilt

unfair to black/brown people to navigate for safety.. w police

interpretive labor

we have a real problem.. we’ve got to change..

we have to begin talking about what a police officer is…if 98% about shooting and not implicit bias.. have to be people we trust the most

equally at risk of smog.. of bias to black/brown.. we have to create more shame about police misconduct.. segregation.. slavery..

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@brainpicker

If you haven’t yet read this @NewYorker profile of Bryan Stevenson, do – he is one of our greatest living heroes newyorker.com/magazine/2016/…

Stevenson wrote, “I understood that I don’t do what I do because it’s required or necessary or important. I don’t do it because I have no choice. I do what I do because I’m broken, too.”

[..]

for several years, Stevenson has taught part time at the New York University School of Law, but he doesn’t have his own apartment in the city. He lives on his N.Y.U. earnings and takes no salary from E.J.I. His personal style is nearly ascetic. He has never married. Keeping a promise that he made to his grandmother when he was a teen-ager, he has never let a drop of alcohol pass his lips. (Alcoholism plagued his family.) For years, he lived in a series of small apartments in Montgomery, until he decided to renew his commitment to the piano, which he once played semi-professionally in jazz groups. He decided to buy a piano, then a house, but rarely finds time to play. E.J.I. has no development staff, so Stevenson must raise the six-million-dollar budget virtually alone. Between fund-raising and court appearances, he travels incessantly.

[..]

He couldn’t get the words out, and he was going to use the last few minutes of his life—his last struggle was going to be devoted to saying to me, ‘Thank you’ and ‘I love you for what you’re trying to do.’ I think that’s what got to me in a way that few things had. And I, for the first time in my career, just thought, Is there an emotional cost, is there some toll connected to being proximate to all this suffering? I think that’s when I realized that my motivation to help condemned people—it’s not like I’m some whole person trying to help the broken people that I see along the road. I think I am broken by the injustice that I see.”

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on collection of soil…via Michael Murphy: Architecture that’s built to heal

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@eji_org

Today we released our new video exploring America’s brutal history of lynching and racial terror. Watch it here: youtube.com/watch?v=aS61QF…

narrated by Bryan; art by Molly..

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bryan is in fixing the system doc

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