Bryan Stevenson is an American lawyer. He is a social justice activist. He is the originator and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative. Moreover, he is a law professor at New York University School of Law.
Stevenson has always shown intolerance against the poor and minorities in the criminal justice system, especially children, and even challenged their bias. the help achieves the United States Supreme Court verdicts that forbid sentencing children who are not yet 18years old to death or life imprisonment without any parole.
Stevenson has helped in cases that have saved many prisoners from the death sentence and always advocated for the underprivileged. He developed community-based reform action intended for improving the management of criminal justice. Now we will discuss Bryan Stevenson quotes.
Top Popular 50 Bryan Stevenson quotes:
1. Somebody has to stand when other people are sitting. Somebody has to speak when other people are quiet.
2. You ultimately judge the civility of a society not by how it treats the rich, the powerful, the protected and the highly esteemed, but by how it treats the poor, the disfavored and the disadvantaged.―Bryan Stevenson
3. You don’t change the world with the ideas in your mind, but with the conviction in your heart.―Bryan Stevenson
4. My parents, who grew up in terror and dealt with segregation and humiliation, nonetheless taught us to be hopeful and open and loving and not hateful toward anyone.―Bryan Stevenson
5. When you come to Montgomery, you see fifty-nine monuments and memorials, all about the Civil War, all about Confederate leaders and generals. We have lionized these people, and we have romanticized their courage and their commitment and their tenacity, and we have completely eliminated the reality that created the Civil War.―Bryan Stevenson
6. You can be a career professional as a judge, a prosecutor, sometimes as a defense attorney, and never insist on fairness and justice. That’s tragic and that’s what we have to change.―Bryan Stevenson
7. If you’re just the person with power, exercising that power fearfully and angrily, you’re going to be an operative of injustice and inequality.―Bryan Stevenson
8. We have a system of justice in [the US] that treats you much better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent. Wealth, not culpability, shapes outcomes.―Bryan Stevenson
9. We are all implicated when we allow other people to be mistreated. An absence of compassion can corrupt the decency of a community, a state, a nation. Fear and anger can make us vindictive and abusive, unjust and unfair, until we all suffer from the absence of mercy and we condemn ourselves as much as we victimize others. The closer we get to mass incarceration and extreme levels of punishment, the more I believe it’s necessary to recognize that we all need mercy, we all need justice, and-perhaps-we all need some measure of unmerited grace.
10. There is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy. When you experience mercy, you learn things that are hard to learn otherwise. You see things you can’t otherwise see; you hear things you can’t otherwise hear. You begin to recognize the humanity that resides in each of us.―Bryan Stevenson
11. The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned.―Bryan Stevenson
12. I’ve come to understand and to believe that each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done. I believe that for every person on the planet. I think if somebody tells a lie, they’re not just a liar. I think if somebody takes something that doesn’t belong to them, they’re not just a thief. I think even if you kill someone, you’re not just a killer. And because of that, there’s this basic human dignity that must be respected by law.―Bryan Stevenson
13. Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.―Bryan Stevenson
14. The opposite of poverty is not wealth. I don’t believe that. I actually think, in too many places, the opposite of poverty is justice.―Bryan Stevenson
15. The greatest evil of American slavery was not involuntary servitude but rather the narrative of racial differences we created to legitimate slavery. Because we never dealt with that evil, I don’t think slavery ended in 1865, it just evolved.―Bryan Stevenson
16. In many ways, we’ve been taught to think that the real question is, do people deserve to die for the crimes they’ve committed? And that’s a very sensible question. But there’s another way of thinking about where we are in our identity. The other way of thinking about it is not, do people deserve to die for the crimes they commit, but do we deserve to kill?―Bryan Stevenson
17. Whenever society begins to create policies and laws rooted in fear and anger, there will be abuse and injustice.
18. We live in a country that talks about being the home of the brave and the land of the free, and we have the highest incarceration rate in the world.―Bryan Stevenson
19. You can’t demand truth and reconciliation. You have to demand truth – people have to hear it, and then they have to want to reconcile themselves to that truth.―Bryan Stevenson
20. But simply punishing the broken–walking away from them or hiding them from sight–only ensures that they remain broken and we do, too. There is no wholeness outside of our reciprocal humanity.―Bryan Stevenson
21. If you love your community, then you need to be insisting on justice in all circumstances.―Bryan Stevenson
22. We’ve all been acculturated into accepting the inevitability of wrongful convictions, unfair sentences, racial bias, and racial disparities and discrimination against the poor.―Bryan Stevenson
23. I don’t think there’s been a time in American history with more innocent people in prison.―Bryan Stevenson
24. All of our survival is tied to the survival of everyone.―Bryan Stevenson
25. We don’t need police officers who see themselves as warriors. We need police officers who see themselves as guardians and parts of the community. You can’t police a community that you’re not a part of.―Bryan Stevenson
26. It’s that mind-heart connection that I believe compels us to not just be attentive to all the bright and dazzling things but also the dark and difficult things.―Bryan Stevenson
27. The reality is that capital punishment in America is a lottery. It is a punishment that is shaped by the constraints of poverty, race, geography and local politics.―Bryan Stevenson
28. Intuitively we all like to seek the things that are comfortable rather than uncomfortable. But I do think there is a way of saying that if I believe in justice and I believe that justice is a constant struggle, and if I want to create justice, then I have to get comfortable with struggle.―Bryan Stevenson
29. The death penalty symbolizes whom we fear and don’t fear, whom we care about and whose lives are not valid.
30. Why do we want to kill all the broken people?―Bryan Stevenson
31. Knowing what I know about the people who have come before me, and the people who came before them, and what they had to do, it changes my capacity to stay engaged, to stay productive.―Bryan Stevenson
32. Embracing a certain quotient of racial bias and discrimination against the poor is an inexorable aspect of supporting capital punishment. This is an immoral condition that makes rejecting the death penalty on moral grounds not only defensible but necessary for those who refuse to accept unequal or unjust administration of punishment.―Bryan Stevenson
33. Many states can no longer afford to support public education, public benefits, public services without doing something about the exorbitant costs that mass incarceration have created.―Bryan Stevenson
34. Sometimes the facts of the crime are so distracting – there’s been some tragic murder or horrific incident, and people aren’t required to think as carefully and thoughtfully, and directly, about this legacy of racial inequality and structural poverty. And what it’s contributing to these wrongful convictions.―Bryan Stevenson
35. In most places, when people hear about or see something that is a symbol or representation or evidence of slavery or the slave trade or lynching, the instinct is to cover it up, to get rid of it, to destroy it.―Bryan Stevenson
36. I have to get comfortable with resistance, and even sometimes with hostility.―Bryan Stevenson
37. If we want to be proud of our country, if we want to be proud as Americans, if we want to be proud of our history, then we can’t talk about the things that are inconsistent with pride, about which we can have no pride.
38. Lynching is an important aspect of racial history and racial inequality in America, because it was visible, it was so public, it was so dramatic, and it was so violent.―Bryan Stevenson
39. I think there is a contempt for the human dignity of people who were enslaved. You couldn’t see them as fully human and so you didn’t respect their desire to be connected to a family and a place. That was the only way you could tolerate and make sense of lynching and the terror that lynching represented.―Bryan Stevenson
40. If you love your country, then you need to be thinking a lot more critically about what justice.―Bryan Stevenson
41. Living in Montgomery, I’ve been antagonized by the emergence of a narrative about our history that I believe is quite false and misleading, and actually dangerous. And the narrative that emerges when you spend time in the South – places likes Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana – is that we have always been a noble, wonderful, glorious region of the country, with wonderful, noble, glorious people doing wonderful, noble, glorious things. And there’s great pride in the Alabamians of the nineteenth century.―Bryan Stevenson
42. Finally I got to the point where I said, I’d like to start a project where we can actually talk about race and poverty, not through the lens of a particular case, but much more broadly.―Bryan Stevenson
43. When I stepped into this world, I saw that we were all burdened by a certain kind of indifference to the plight of poor people. We were burdened by insensitivity to a legacy of racial bias. We were tolerating unfairness and unreliability in a way that burdened me and provoked me.―Bryan Stevenson
44. Because my great-grandparents were enslaved people, the legacy of slavery was something that didn’t seem impersonal or disconnected. That’s what motivated me to get into law.―Bryan Stevenson
45. That’s what’s provocative to me – that we can victimize people, we can torture and traumatize people with no consciousness that it is a shameful thing to do.―Bryan Stevenson
46. Always do the right thing even when the right thing is the hard thing―Bryan Stevenson
47. We are all broken by something. We have all hurt someone and have been hurt. We all share the condition of brokenness even if our brokenness is not equivalent.―Bryan Stevenson
48. I think hopelessness is the enemy of justice.―Bryan Stevenson
49. The Bureau of Justice reports that one in three black male babies born this century will go to jail or prison – that is an absolutely astonishing statistic. And it ought to be terrorizing to not just to people of color, but to all of us.―Bryan Stevenson
50. We all have a responsibility to create a just society―Bryan Stevenson
Early life :
Bryan Stevenson was born on November 14, 1959. Stevenson grew up in Milton, Delaware, that is a small rural city located in southern Delaware.
His father was Howard Carlton Stevenson, Sr., and his mother was Alice Gertrude (Golden) Stevenson. Stevenson has two siblings, an older brother named Howard, Jr. and a sister named Christy.
Stevenson went to Cape Henlopen High School and graduated in 1978. Stevenson played on the soccer and baseball teams.
He also served as president of the student body and had won American Legion public speaking competitions. Stevenson received straight A’s and won a scholarship to Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. On campus, he supervised the campus gospel choir. Later, Stevenson graduated in 1981.
Stevenson accepted a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School. He was also rewarded a master’s degree in Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, also at Harvard University.
During law school, a piece of a class on race and poverty case with Elizabeth Bartholet, he helped and worked for the Stephen Bright’s Southern Center for Human Rights, which is an organization that reports the death penalty inmates throughout the South. And through this Stevenson found his career calling.
Why should we follow him?
If we read about his life, we can’t help but notice he is a public interest lawyer who devoted his career to support the poor, the underprivileged, and the disadvantaged people.
He is the originator and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). It is an Alabama-based organization.
It has won critical legal challenges that helped remove excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent prisoners on the death penalty, withstanding misuse of the incarcerated and the mentally sick, and supporting children summoned as grown-ups.
There are so many reasons to follow him. In 2012, EJI achieved a historic ruling in the US Supreme Court holding that required life-without-parole penalties for all children 17 or minor are unconstitutional.
Stevenson’s work fighting against poverty and protesting against racial intolerance in the criminal justice system has made him win several awards.
He graduated from the Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Government. He has been rewarded with 14 honorary doctorate degrees. Stevenson is the writer of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.
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