Resource Toolkit for the 25th Wallenberg Medal and Lecture

Bryan Stevenson, photo credit Michael Collopy

About the Lecture

The Wallenberg Lecture is free and open to the public, and is not ticketed.

About the Recipient

Bryan Stevenson
Executive Director, Equal Justice Initiative
Civil rights lawyer and advocate for justice

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. Mr. Stevenson is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned. Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill and aiding children prosecuted as adults. Mr. Stevenson has successfully argued several cases in the United States Supreme Court and recently won an historic ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court banning mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger. EJI has also initiated major new anti-poverty and anti-discrimination efforts challenging the legacy of racial inequality in America. Mr. Stevenson’s work fighting poverty and challenging racial discrimination in the criminal justice system has won him numerous awards including the ABA Wisdom Award for Public Service, the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Award Prize, the Olaf Palme International Prize, the ACLU National Medal of Liberty, the National Public Interest Lawyer of the Year Award, the Gruber Prize for International Justice ,and the Ford Foundation Visionaries Award. In 2015, he was named to the Time 100 recognizing the world’s most influential people. Recently, he was named in Fortune’s 2016 World’s Greatest Leaders list. He is a graduate of the Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Government, has been awarded 26 honorary doctorate degrees and is also a Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law. He is the recent author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Just Mercy, which was named by Time Magazine as one of the 10 best books of nonfiction for 2014, and has been awarded several honors including the Carnegie Medal by the American Library Association for the best nonfiction book of 2014 and a 2015 NAACP Image Award.

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Discussion Questions

  1. What are the key themes from the lecture?
  2. What is justice? Is it a value? Is it an act? Is it a philosophy or way of thinking?
  3. How do ideas and ways of thinking about justice, and injustice, differ?
  4. What are some of the tensions today between law and justice?
  5. How have individuals and communities responded to perceptions of injustice?
  6. What question would you like to ask Bryan Stevenson?
  7. What action steps can we take together to make an impact?