Much is being said and written about the events of these past few weeks. Some state that systemic racism does not exist, others that it does. Some say that not everything that happens is fueled by racism while others decry “racism” for the slightest offence.
I recently watched the movie Just Mercy which is based on the true story of Harvard trained lawyer Bryan Stevenson who in the late 1980s went to Alabama to fight for inmates on death row. This is a real life story. It is not someone’s opinion. It is eye-opening to see how systematic racism led to the sentencing of many innocent poor black men to death row. Bryan Stevenson has dedicated his life to bringing justice in society. You can watch this movie for free in most online platforms.
Some may say, “the late 80s is such a long time ago, we are doing much better now.” Forty years is not very long when it comes to the transmission of particular mentalities. As I have said before, legislation does not bring about the conversion of hearts. We have made great legal advancements to ensure greater equality in society, but many hearts have been formed by past generations, and racism is still present in society.
The movie appropriately depicts the savagery that is executing a human being; the weight of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. The movie rightly reminds the viewer that many times wealth and not culpability shapes outcomes in the American criminal justice system. It is an excellent movie.
Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative which continues to fight for justice for the poor, marginalized, and the incarcerated. Last year I visited the museum and memorial the Initiative have built in Montgomery, Alabama. It is worth a visit, but first, make sure you watch the movie Just Mercy.
Picture is not mine, but is free to share.