"Seeing the movie is very important and relevant considering the current criminal justice landscape across the country and even across the Promise Zone here in St. Louis."
Just Mercy tells the story of an African-American man in Alabama who, in 1988, was wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Bryan Stevenson, portrayed by Michael B. Jordan, is the lawyer who represents the wrongly convicted man. His dedication to justice for the most vulnerable in our society – namely inmates on death row – is very inspiring and will light a flame in everyone who goes to see the movie. Seeing the movie is very important and relevant considering the current criminal justice landscape across the country and even across the Promise Zone here in St. Louis.
Just Mercy is also based on a book by Bryan Stevenson with the same title. Stevenson gives a broader view of his journey defending inmates on death row. The book is both hopeful and candidly heartbreaking at every moment. Even so, he subtly highlights the necessity of wrestling with the implication those stories provide about our current criminal justice system.
Bryan Stevenson’s organization, Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), provides legal representation to prisoners who may have been wrongly convicted of crimes, poor prisoners without effective representation, and others who may have been denied a fair trial. If you would like to know more about Stevenson and his team’s work, visit eji.org. Most recently, EJI opened the Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. The goals of the project are to tell the story of racial terror lynching in the U.S.; memorialize the victims of lynching; and honor the families and communities most affected by racial terror in the South. You can get tickets to the museum on their website. An overview of the project can be seen here.