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Dr. Nancy McCormick Rambusch Lecture: Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson

Saturday, March 12
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

"American Injustice: Mercy, Humanity, and Making a Difference"

After graduating from law school in 1985, Bryan Stevenson moved to the South, a region on the verge of a crisis: the states were speeding up executions, but many of the condemned lacked anyone to represent them. On a shoestring budget he started the Equal Justice Initiative, a law practice dedicated to defending poor people who cannot afford representation, as well as condemned prisoners and others who have been denied effective representation or whose trials are marked by racial bias and prosecutorial misconduct. Today America has the largest prison population in the world, excessive punishment and law-enforcement abuse are widespread, and the collateral consequences are devastating lives and communities. Stevenson, one of the nation’s most respected attorneys, will address the problem of a country in thrall to extreme punishments and careless justice and explain why the criminal justice system that puts so many men, women, and children in our nation's prisons is broken. Through stories both heartbreaking and inspiring, he will explain how his life was transformed by his determination to work toward furthering justice and mercy – and how all of us can find joy and purpose in working for change. With its emphasis on respect for our common humanity and the innate goodness in every person, Stevenson’s keynote talk will resonate with Montessorians and speak to the heart of Montessori principles and values.

Called “America’s young Nelson Mandela” by Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu, Bryan Stevenson has generated national attention for his work on individual cases and his efforts have reversed death penalties for dozens of condemned prisoners. The recipient of numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant,” Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, and a tenured law professor at New York University School of Law in New York City. He is the author of the book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, a critically acclaimed account of the founding of the Equal Justice Initiative and a powerful call for greater national attention to the problem of injustice that won an NAACP Image Award for Best Non-Fiction. His 20-minute TED Talk on the subject of injustice has been viewed over 2.35 million times on the TED website and another 299K times on YouTube; The New Yorker named it one of 5 essential TED Talks. A graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, Stevenson has had many media appearances, including The Daily Show and NPR's Fresh Air and was named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People for 2015.”

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