Stay hopeful and do ‘uncomfortable things’: Bryan Stevenson at YDS

By Blake Thorkelson ‘18 M.Div.

Public interest lawyer and justice advocate Bryan Stevenson laid out four ways to fight for justice as he delivered the annual Parks-King Lecture at Yale Divinity School the evening of Feb. 1. Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI).

Under Stevenson’s leadership, EJI has won legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill, and aiding children prosecuted as adults. EJI recently won a ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court holding that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger are unconstitutional. He is also the author of the New York Times-bestselling “Just Mercy.”

Stevenson spoke to a standing-room-only audience in the Divinity School’s Marquand Chapel, with another 100 participants watching from Niebuhr Hall.

Considering the legacy of racial injustice in the United States, he said, “I don’t think we’re going to be free in this country until we challenge all the damage that has been done by our history of racial inequality.”

Read more at YaleNews.

February 2, 2017