Saturday, April 9, 2016

Bryan Stevenson and EJI

I first met Bryan Stevenson when I saw his moving TED Talk—"We need to talk about an injustice," a Talk that has the longest standing ovation in TED history. That was back in 2012. I then saw him on 60 Minutes and again was moved. Most recently, I sat in the front row at the annual American Montessori Society conference when he spoke to 4,000 educators. Like his TED Talk audience, he received the longest standing ovation I have ever witnessed for a keynote speaker at this conference. You could see that he himself was visibly moved by those who demonstrated their appreciation for his profound message.

But, for me, it was reading his NYTimes bestselling book Just Mercy that helped me understand his message best. It is a powerful book. There were times when I did not want to finish the book because of the anguish, frustration, and overwhelming abuse he (and the people he represents) experience in his work over the past 30 years. Ultimately, he founded the organization, Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). Clicking to the website will give you an insight into his important work and message.

Coincidentally, this morning, one of the lead stories for NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday is "Chicago Murder Rate Spikes." which helps to explain the significance of Stevenson's work.

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