Bryan Stevenson, 'Just Mercy,' and '13th'
Last spring, Gary Jones recommended a book to the people of St. Stephen's Church, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, the story the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of Stevenson's first cases as a young lawyer was that of a young man sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. Not only did many parishioners read this book, more than 100 took part in a series in the fall which included presentations by lawyers, local officials, and former inmates, as well as small group discussions.
Tuesday, April 4, 6:30 p.m.
Screening of '13th' at St. Stephen's
Stevenson and his experiences with the Equal Justice Initiative figure prominently in the Oscar-nominated documentary by Ava DuVernay (Selma). With several other local churches, St. Stephen's will host a free, community-wide screening of this acclaimed film at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4. Refreshments will be served beginning at 5:30 p.m. Registration for this free event is not required, but is helpful for our planning. The film will be shown here at St. Stephen's, though the precise location will depend on the number of people registered.
The film, whose title refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution which abolished slavery, explores issues of race, justice and mass incarceration in this country and the ways that people of color remained enslaved by uneven and disproportionate treatment in our justice system.
Wednesday, April 12, 6:00 p.m.
Bryan Stevenson speaks at VCU
Virginia Commonwealth University students, faculty and staff have also read Just Mercy in the past year, and offered numerous events related to the book and the issues it raises. The culmination of this year-long engagement with Just Mercy is an appearance by the author at VCU's Siegel Center. If you are interested in being notified about van transportation to the Siegel Center for this event, please use this link.