The book Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson seriously changed my life. I rarely state that there is a book at all Americans should read; however, this Book is an exception to my rule.
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In Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, describes his plight in fighting for justice for his clients. The book chronicles his journey with Walter McMillian, who was falsely accused of murder and sent to death row. The book includes other stories of his clients who were also victims of the justice system. These stories are interwoven throughout the book.
Every American should read this book because this is our justice system and it’s our responsibility to know how it works. I knew our justice system was broken, but reading these stories brought that truth closer to my heart and then broke it.
I saw how the system doesn’t work for minorities or the poor. In our current system, you have a better chance of avoiding prison if you’re white, rich, and guilty than if your black, poor, and innocent.
I also saw how the system treats children. The stories about incarcerated children are extremely heartbreaking.
In my ignorance, I read this book expecting to find details of the past; but to my horror, I found that some laws have only recently been changed. I often thought about what I was doing in the years mentioned in the book and felt a pang of guilt that I didn’t know about some of these situations.
I can’t imagine what it must be like to represent incarcerated people that have been abused by our system. Their suffering shouldn’t be silenced. Just Mercy synthesizes all of these injustices that we need to be aware of.
Though there are many sensitive subjects in this book, I feel it would be very beneficial for high school students. I think students should be exposed to problems in our world and given the opportunity to see issues from a different perspective. Just Mercy lends itself to both.
I am anticipating seeing the movie and I’m so happy that Walter McMillian’s story will be shared with so many.
You will learn so much from reading this book. I often had to just sit and think about what I read. Other times, I had to discuss it with friends.
My only regret is not reading Just Mercy sooner.