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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.
Why you should listen to him:
Bryan Stevenson is a public-interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned. He’s the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, an Alabama-based group that has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent prisoners on death row, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill, and aiding children prosecuted as adults. One recent victory: A ban on life imprisonment without parole sentences imposed on children convicted of most crimes in the United States.
“Bryan Stevenson blew my my mind, engaged my heart, and inspired my soul.”
Quotes by Bryan Stevenson
“We have a system of justice in [the US] that treats you much better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent. Wealth, not culpability, shapes outcomes.”
“The opposite of poverty is not wealth. … In too many places, the opposite of poverty is justice.”
“It’s that mind-heart connection that I believe compels us to not just be attentive to all the bright and dazzling things but also the dark and difficult things.”