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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

63 comments

  • Gerry O.
    06/12/2020 22:01

    Amazing and important work. Thank you for your kindness and humanity: ‪I’d like to share this beautiful song by doctor and musician, Francis O’Hanlon, with a video he made during self isolation to thank you and all others showing compassion and kindness in these days where it’s all the more essential: https://youtu.be/Dkyurn562H8

  • Senseisilvioselva S.
    06/09/2020 12:17

    Aleluia

  • Billie L.
    06/07/2020 01:19

    ❤️🧡💚

  • James B.
    06/06/2020 18:12

    That was a great movie!

  • Eddie C.
    06/06/2020 17:41

    Love this!

  • Brut
    06/05/2020 19:21

    is available for free for the month of June as education on systemic racism: https://ew.com/movies/warner-bros-just-mercy-available-free/

  • 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

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