NOTE: This program is sold out. If tickets become available, they will go on sale at The Paramount box office 10 minutes before the program begins.
Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption) will speak about his experiences as a social justice lawyer and how these continue to influence his life-long work to support criminal justice system reform as well as anti-poverty and anti-discrimination efforts. An outspoken advocate and thoughtful leader, Stevenson challenges the legacy of racial inequality in the United States, asking Americans to reconsider issues of justice and compassion. John Grisham will join Stevenson on stage for discussion of these issues.
Why should you attend?
- From the 1970s to 2014, the U.S. prison population has increased from 300,000 to 2,300,000; the highest incarceration rate in the world.
- One in every fifteen babies born in 2001 is predicted to spend time in jail. One in three black males born in this century is predicted to be incarcerated.
- Spending on jails and prisons by state and federal governments has risen from $6.9 billion in 1980 to nearly $80 billion in 2014.
- Private prison builders and prison service companies have spent millions of dollars to persuade state and local governments to create new crimes, impose harsher sentences, and keep more people locked up in the interest of higher profits.
“Against tremendous odds, Stevenson has worked to free scores of people from wrongful or excessive punishment, arguing five times before the Supreme Court…. The message of the book, hammered home by dramatic examples of one man’s refusal to sit quietly and countenance horror, is that evil can be overcome, a difference can be made. Just Mercy will make you upset and it will make you hopeful.”
—Ted Conover, New York Times Book Review
“Emotionally profound, necessary reading.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review, Kirkus Prize Finalist)
“Bryan Stevenson is one of my personal heroes, perhaps the most inspiring and influential crusader for justice alive today, and Just Mercy is extraordinary. The stories told within these pages hold the potential to transform what we think we mean when we talk about justice.”
—Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
“Bryan Stevenson is America’s young Nelson Mandela, a brilliant lawyer fighting with courage and conviction to guarantee justice for all. Just Mercy should be read by people of conscience in every civilized country in the world to discover what happens when revenge and retribution replace justice and mercy. It is as gripping to read as any legal thriller, and what hangs in the balance is nothing less than the soul of a great nation.”
—Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
The Festival appreciates the help of the following in securing Mr. Stevenson’s appearance:
100 Black Men of Charlottesville; Albemarle-Charlottesville Branch, NAACP; Carter Woodson Institute at UVa; Charlottesville Friends Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Library Committee; Charlottesville chapter, Links, Inc.; John Grisham; Jefferson School African American Heritage Center; The Project on Lived Theology; Sojourners United Church of Christ, Racial Justice Committee; UVa Department of History; UVa Department of Politics; UVa Office for Diversity and Equity; UVa School of Law; Virginia Capital Representation Resource Center; Virginia Center for the Study of Religion; Virginia Organizing; and Virginia Quarterly Review.
The Festival appreciates the help of the following sponsors for this event:
LexisNexis, The Project on Lived Theology, Paul and Susan Yesawich, Virginia Center for the Study of Religion, UVa Office for Diversity and Equity, UVa Department of Politics, American Forum at the Miller Center, and an anonymous donor
Tickets available through the link below, or in person at The Paramount Theater box office at 215 E. Main Street, Charlottesville. The ticket price of $17.50 ($6.50 for students) includes The Paramount Historic Preservation Fee. Your purchase will also incur a service charge of $2.50 ($1.50 for students).
Please note: Just Mercy will be available for purchase after the program, and Bryan Stevenson will sign books. John Grisham’s books will not be available for sale, nor will he sign books.