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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

61 comments

  • Rodney R.
    04/25/2021 12:44

    Who's gonna save the innocent babies being murdered in the womb everyday. Black n white. How about some real justice for innocent unborn babies that haven't committed any crime.

  • Rodney R.
    04/25/2021 12:41

    Go Hollywood

  • Josephine L.
    04/25/2021 05:18

    No other race exist aye? Why only BLACK people being harassed

  • Angela S.
    04/21/2021 13:37

    I adore you Bryan for all you have done and continue to do for humanity! Love your beautiful spirit! I can say your grandma is so so proud ! Can you please look into the case of Kevin Sawyer A father incarcerated at 38 years old homeowner as well as Hold the bachelor degree in computer science and much much more and short holding a 58 year to life prison sentence for a crime that he could not have and would not have ever done… At the time working for MBI in Contra Costa County California. I asked last known he sits in San Quintin prison...I used to visit him in Vacaville prison For a period of two years ministry to encourage him. I’ve heard they sent him to Solidad he said that he’s even been to Alcatraz and many other prisons for a crime that he could not have and would not have done an innocent man that has been sitting there for over 20 years!!!!What a shame what a waste of his life the best years of his life has been stolen… Here is the reference number that I have for him please reach out to him Bryan please please please!P23673 San Quintin California… For more information my name is Angela my email is Zahabah7 @Gmail.com Warmly Angela Renee Smith.

  • Pelandaba M.
    01/04/2021 05:04

    Bryan Stevenson u r great a guy. May the lord bless you always

  • Gary W.
    02/29/2020 20:23

    Great movie

  • Constance B.
    02/28/2020 19:17

    This was a great movie and 1988 wasn’t long ago. Just Mercy almost had me in tears

  • Valerie R.
    02/28/2020 02:14

    But the white man always want us to FORGET

  • Amy F.
    02/28/2020 00:38

    TO GOD BE THE GLORY WONDERFUL GOD BLESS

  • Colin S.
    02/27/2020 14:08

    Hi Tiffany thanks for the post

  • Harold B.
    02/24/2020 18:14

    The book was excellent! Hope the movie is just as good!!

  • Hattie W.
    02/24/2020 18:08

    Thank you for your service for helping deserves people for their freedom.

  • Richard S.
    02/22/2020 05:06

    You could have not said it better my Brother.

  • Jeffrey A.
    02/21/2020 21:46

    Our Ancestors determination came from the desire to make a way for us to be Free. They knew they would not never see it. But did not want Us to die as a People. They laid the foundation for us to follow. But we must continue, as a People.

  • Randolph C.
    02/21/2020 02:20

    This is very interesting inspiring intelligent 📫 thanks for sharing this with me ✌

  • Sharon L.
    02/20/2020 21:54

    Father God cover him in your blood. Thank you for your strength and wisdom upon this Man whom you have chosen in such a time as this. Lord, you have given him the keys to unlock the doors and the knowledge not to be defeated. Your Love Lord, deserves a grand standing. You have shown us your power if we believe beyond of what we see. You give awards to those whom seek you. Continue to let him know your will. Breathe on him Master restore his strength and let him know to get some him time (vacation) because you got it.:)

  • Mattie K.
    02/20/2020 18:34

    Reparations 💲💲💲💲💲💲

  • Claude W.
    02/19/2020 14:52

    God bless you my brother,god didn't call the righteous, but the sinner, we all sinner, save by his grace and mercy, we all are helpless without him, like a slave and his taskmaster, jesus came to free us through his father!!

  • Tamica R.
    02/17/2020 02:46

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

  • Cherlyn J.
    02/16/2020 19:42

    Great movie 👍👍👍...

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