Upcoming Program – 3 Sessions to Read & Discuss “Just Mercy”
I read the book “Just Mercy: A story of justice & Redemption” by Bryan Stevenson in September of 2014 and wrote the review below for Amazon; I was thus thrilled to learn that the book has now been chosen as the UUA Common Read 2015-16!
I am hoping that, as with prior common reads, a group will emerge from our congregation to read this book together. We will approach the book in three segments and choose get-together times best suited to the group. UUA will provide a discussion guide and some slides. The book retails for $16.00 (paperback), there are a variety of discounts available, and congregational financial support is available for the purchases if needed. If you are interested in being part of a group to read and discuss this book together, please let me (g.g. gordon) know.
Here is my amazon review from 9/14:
I have a new hero . . . Bryan Stevenson. He joins my other hero lawyer, Morris Dees [founder of Southern Poverty Law Center], in my personal pantheon of those who fight for social justice.
Bryan Stevenson is the self-effacing author of this terrific book about the legal war he has waged against cruel, unjust sentencing practices in this country for over three decades now. His history of founding and working for the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, is told through real case histories of real people who were subjected to degradation and inhumane treatment that will shock you, anger you, and bring you to tears.
I spent a 25+ year career as a federal prosecutor, in the rarefied world of the federal courts, and am ashamed to say that I had no idea that such horrendous things were happening simultaneously in the state courts of our country. How Stevenson managed to stay on task for decades, to spend so much time simply connecting with his clients as human beings, and to accomplish such extraordinary results is amazing. I learned a lot, and the teachings of The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander [another excellent book on the prison industrial complex in this country] were reinforced.
Perhaps my favorite chapter, for what it said about humanity, is entitled Mitigation. I will be using the facts from that chapter in a future talk at my Unitarian Universalist church. “Each of us is more than the worst thing we have ever done.” This phrase echoes throughout this work, which, while fact filled, also has a strong spiritual component to it.
This is a great book. Please read it, and do as I did upon completion. Find the Equal Justice Initiative and give them some financial support. They work on a shoestring, and take care of some of the most helpless and needy among us.
For more info from UUA about Just Mercy, go to www.uua.org/re/adults/read.
Prior UUA Common Reads:
2014-15: Reclaiming Prophetic Witness
2013-14: Behind the Kitchen Door
2012-13: The New Jim Crow
2011-12: Acts of Faith
2010-11: The Death of Josseline
Adult Enrichment Committee Chair