[Reynolds Lecture]: Bryan Stevenson: January 28, 2020

Known as the founder and director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery, Alabama, Stevenson is a lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated, and the condemned. 

Through the EJI, Bryan Stevenson (and his team, including two Davison Alums) has aimed to tackle societal problems present in the majorly flawed justice and prison system  and has won major legal challenges that have included the elimination of unfair sentencing, the exoneration of innocent death row prisoners, and providing aid to children prosecuted as adults.

Stevenson is an incredible public speaker. I was blown away by the manner in which he spoke to such a large crow. Stevenson’s strides to challenge poverty and discrimination to tackle inequality in America makes me think of him as a Nelson Mandela of this era. 

Through all of the touching and powerful stories that he told us, I remember the four parts that we should hold to heart if we want to change the world for good: get proximate, change the narrative, be hopeful, and get uncomfortable. If we challenge ourselves to live by way of these foundations, we will grow as people and have the proper mentality to be the game changers in our communities. Knowing this, I am motivated to actively live my life in a way that I can make a positive contribution to the people around me. 

Lastly, I would consider that the most touching thing Stevenson talked about was the reason he wanted to become a lawyer. He wanted to become a lawyer because he wants to help broken people because at one point, he was broken too. That reminded me of myself and how I want to mend bodies and save the souls of others, because I, too, was broken at some point in my life. 

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