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Bryan Stevenson talks social justice

Attorney-activist Bryan Stevenson and “Just Mercy” star Michael B. Jordan spoke with Brut about the death row case that inspired the film.

Winning justice, one client at a time

Bryan Stevenson helped save more than 135 prisoners from death row. The 2019 film Just Mercy — based off Stevenson’s book that documents his nonprofit law office, Equal Justice Initiative — shows how the death penalty in America relates to lynching. One of EJI’s first clients, Walter McMillian — a young black man who spent 6 years on death row for the murder of a white woman that he didn’t commit.

Priceless joy

“My great-grandfather was enslaved and had to believe in freedom that he hadn't seen. My grandparents were terrorized by lynching and had to believe in a security that they hadn't achieved. My parents were humiliated by segregation and yet found a way to have a hope for a better future. And I just want to honor their aspirations, their hope, their courage, their strength, their determination, and give that to my clients and the people that I work with today. It's funny, when Walter McMilian was released, we actually had to go back to death row to get his stuff. When we got down to the gate, it was so exhilarating to have them open the gate and walk through it with him as a free person. And I just was feeling so excited that I actually said to Walter, I said Walter, that was so great, let's go back in and do it again. And he always would say yes, but that's the one time he said, no I'm not going back in there. And I have had that moment several times," Bryan Stevenson tells Brut.

Now on the big screen

The lawyer, author and activist has spent decades cementing space for black Americans through trials, sacred grounds and now, cinema. He continues his work today with the EJI and the Memorial for Peace and Justice as well as the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama.

Brut.

12/30/2019 12:57 PMupdated: 01/02/2020 2:15 PM
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46 comments

  • Tamica R.
    2 days

    There is hope and justice for all love his story of courage resilience and hope

  • Cherlyn J.
    2 days

    Great movie 👍👍👍...

  • Marie B.
    2 days

    Now the black men control the white women revenue.

  • Lomax S.
    5 days

    This is a great movie, every Black person should see it.

  • Alfred D.
    5 days

    Great movie

  • Susanne M.
    6 days

    A HERO

  • James D.
    6 days

    My son John Gregory. Deloney. It is in Cincinnati jail. For 6 years without a trial we need help. Name is James deloney telephone number 3 1 7 969 o9 65 any help greatly appreciate

  • Jasper S.
    6 days

    Donald Trump.

  • Eddiemu P.
    02/10/2020 21:23

    This Brother Bryan Stevenson should get an Honorary award for the life saving work he has done. We are blessed to have you on our team. Thank You. Airhug my brother

  • Ali N.
    02/10/2020 15:13

    I'm proud of Independence. Black black lawyers. Who do the do the great work in just Mercy. I want to see the movie I was very impressed.

  • Asiyah S.
    02/08/2020 13:36

    I saw that movie is a very good movie.

  • Larry R.
    02/07/2020 05:33

    Equal justice for all...

  • Norma O.
    02/06/2020 20:14

    Thank you for all you do for justice, you and yours crew

  • Louis S.
    02/06/2020 11:28

    http://www.42principlesofmaat.com/

  • Elizabeth A.
    02/05/2020 19:54

    The racist president we got is going to bring back the death penalty,😰

  • Mark M.
    02/05/2020 03:03

    I saw that movie The other day and it was a great movie White people just hate us And we are always tried to fit in stupid

  • Ron S.
    02/05/2020 00:44

    Great movie

  • Simon J.
    02/04/2020 22:42

    Very well said thank you

  • Clay S.
    02/04/2020 16:42

    In honor of black history month become aware of past generations struggle!

  • Arthur C.
    02/04/2020 11:27

    Good Info ✊🏿👍🏿✌🏿