In the history of humanity, there have been continuous discriminations against disabled, other races, and/or different genders. In present-day society, they still exist; they are well hidden, but they do exist. However, no one – even myself – seems to care about the discrimination against the prisoners and injustice they face, except one person: Bryan Stevenson.
Bryan Stevenson is an American lawyer, social justice activist, and the author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. He also founded Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) to support prisoners who may have been wrongly convicted of crimes, poor prisoners without effective representation, and others who may have been denied a fair trial. Bryan Stevenson is also a great speaker, and he got invited by Ted-Talk and many universities for his speeches. He also visited Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences to give a speech.
Crossroads was privileged to have Bryan Stevenson as a speaker. On January 17, hundreds of students, parents, and faculties were invited to Gristani Gym for his hour-long speech. He mostly talked about flaws in the American Justice system and how our generation can change them for a better world. The effect was immediate. Most of the students and faculty unanimously regarded this assembly as the best assembly they ever had. Many people were wiping off their tears.
Many stories during the speech were moving but one specific story involving a milkshake was all the more touching. It was about Bryan Stevenson’s past young client who was on the verge of getting the death-sentence because he stabbed a man several times. Bryan eventually learned that the client was a mentally ill orphan and the stabbing was because of hallucinations. However, the judicial system did not consider all the factors and simply tried to give this young man the death sentence.
In his first visit, all Stevenson’s client wanted desperately was a milkshake and Stevenson promised to buy him one later. Initially it was difficult for Stevenson to visit his client due to a rude guard but that guard would surprise Stevenson the most. As trial day came and went, the guard was there listening intently but when Stevenson went back to visit his client, Stevenson approached the guard and without a rude disposition, allowed Stevenson to pass. The guard then told Stevenson that through the trial he learned how difficult the young client’s life must have been. Coming from a similar environment, the guard empathized with the young client and told Stevenson that after the trial, he bought the young client a milkshake.
Stories like this shook the crowd and after the speech, the atmosphere of the school had changed. Many students became aware of the discrimination and injustice in America. One sophomore said that she was very inspired by the speech and how she did not realize the importance to change. Some even wanted to make a club to support EJI. Others did not seem to care, but they became aware of the current situation and that at least matters.