Champion of the Damned: Bryan Stevenson's fight to fix a broken justice system
Originally published on Dec 05, 2014.
When Bryan Stevenson was asked to come up with a 7-word bio for a recent public appearance, he offered this: "Broken by poverty, injustice, condemnation. But hopeful." It's a powerful description, if a little too modest. Other people have called Stevenson: Atticus Finch meets Martin Luther King.
Bryan Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, a group that gives legal help to defendants and prisoners who have been denied fair treatment in the justice system.
He speaks to Mary Hynes about the time the police head a gun to his head, how Rosa Parks warned him about burn-out, and why he fights everyday for men and women living on death row.
He is the author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. You can read a chapter of the book below.
Book Excerpt: Just Mercy
"He's just a little boy. "It was late, and I had picked up the phone after hours because no one else was in the building; it was becoming a bad habit. The older woman on the other end of the line was pleading with me after offering a heartfelt description of her grandson, who had just been jailed for murder.
"He's already been in the jail for two nights, and I can't get to him. I'm in Virginia, and my health is not good. Please tell me you'll do something."
Copyright © 2014 by Bryan Stevenson. Reprinted by arrangement with Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.