by Emily Chassman
Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a private, non-profit organization headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama. Stevenson works to challenge bias and discrimination against the poor and minorities in the criminal justice system. Stevenson works tirelessly in securing relief for condemned prisoners, advocates for the poor, and has developed community-based reform litigation aimed at improving the administration of the criminal justice system.
My father originally sent me this TED talk. Knowing my passion for the law and commitment to social justice he thought Stevenson’s words would be powerful and inspirational to a young person trying to figure out how to devote a career to giving back in meaningful ways. He was right, Stevenson’s words inspired me in profound and meaningful ways. I became so enthralled that I immediately ordered his self-written book “Just Mercy” and read it cover to cover in almost a single sitting.
Stevenson’s talk centers around what he calls the power of identity. He believes that if you create an honest and true identity for yourself, your company, your mission–any part of your life–you are then able to get people to do things they previously did not believe they could do.
Stevenson believes that humanity is defined by one’s awareness of the suffering of others. He declares that the opposite of poverty is not wealth but justice, and believes that in the end we as a society will not be judged by our intellect, reason, or technology, but judged by the humanity we show to the poor, the condemned, the forgotten.
He finishes his speech with a line I find most powerful. He declares: “the moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice.” Every person can contribute to a hope that should define our future and that’s what each individual should strive for each day.
To me, Bryan Stevenson exemplifies the commitments we uphold here at UniversalGiving®.
If you’d like to donate to his worthy cause, you can click here to be redirected to Equal Justice Initiative’s Donations page.