Bravo for Brian Stevenson! Just Mercy is a moving, candid, and eye-opening depiction of injustice in America primarily inflicted upon black and brown impoverished and underprivileged people. It is an autobiographical account of the author, a young law student at the start of his career who is tasked with providing defense against what would seem like impossible odds to even the most skilled and experienced attorney. Faced with what might have deterred others, he is instead inspired and motivated to find justice for the victims.
Through The Equal Justice Initiative, a practice started by Stevenson himself, he is able to find justice for countless inmates, including Walter McMillian, an African-American death row inmate who has been wrongly convicted of the murder of a White woman despite a lack of evidence and shady eye witness testimony. Stevenson’s book centers around McMillian’s story of defeat with impossible odds stacked against him, but through perseverance, compassion, and determination to see justice carried out, Stevenson is able to give Walter a piece of his freedom back; however, Walter’s life is forever changed in ways one cannot imagine.
The deeply poignant stories will move you to tears and anger as Stevenson takes us through the pain and emotion, not only of the victims, but also their families and the losses that they suffer to a bias, unfair, and sometimes conspiratorial legal system. Despite being looked upon by society as the downtrodden and forgotten, the insignificant and disgraceful, Bryan Stevenson saw hope, humanity, compassion and a need for commitment to defend the defenseless and called upon others to do the same by offering mercy. His recounts are vividly told and sadly, parallel much of the racial injustices happening in America today.
This book is touching and inspiring and after reading it, one can never look at race or the “justice” system in America the same again.