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While May was a bit of a struggle in my reading life, I am ripping through books this month! Granted, a good amount of them are audiobooks, but those still count.
My most recent read was “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson, and if you’re curious, the audiobook is read by the author.
Bryan Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative as a young lawyer. EJI is a nonprofit law office in Montgomery, Alabama, dedicated to defending the poor, the incarcerated, and the wrongly condemned.
Just Mercy tells the story of EJI, from the early days with a small staff facing the nation’s highest death sentencing and execution rates, through a successful campaign to challenge the cruel practice of sentencing children to die in prison, to revolutionary projects designed to confront Americans with our history of racial injustice.
One of EJI’s first clients was Walter McMillian, a young Black man who was sentenced to die for the murder of a young white woman that he didn’t commit. The case exemplifies how the death penalty in America is a direct descendant of lynching — a system that treats the rich and guilty better than the poor and innocent.
This book reads like a fiction novel even though it’s a true story!
It was, of course, a heavy topic, but it really has a lot of interesting statistics about incarceration and what it’s like inside various prisons.
The book also mentioned work by Pete Early, who is a great author to look up if you’re interested in learning more about mental health and its relation to America’s incarceration rates.
This book was really good — a sad story, of course — but it’s a great one to read, especially if you’re educating yourself about institutional racism in America.
Now, I need to watch the movie!
Have you read this book or seen the movie?
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