Bryan Stevenson, whose work as a social justice law firm and human rights advocate has won reversals, relief or launch from prison for more than 135 wrongly convicted prisoners on loss of life row—in addition to reduction for hundreds of other adult men, gals and kids wrongly convicted or unfairly sentenced—will supply the Graduation tackle at George Washington University’s Commencement on the Countrywide Shopping mall on Could 21, 2023.
Stevenson will receive an honorary degree of Physician of Legislation.
Stevenson is the writer and matter of The New York Times bestseller Just Mercy, which was later tailored into the 2019 motion-image film in which actor Michael B. Jordan portrayed Stevenson on the major display. The storyline recounted Stevenson’s perform exonerating Walter McMillian (played by Jamie Foxx in the film), who had been unjustly convicted and sentenced to loss of life. The ebook received the 2015 Carnegie Medal for Very best Nonfiction, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the NAACP Graphic Award for Greatest Nonfiction.
Considering that 1989, Stevenson has been the govt director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a human rights organization he launched that focuses on social justice in the context of felony justice reform in the United States. EJI litigates on behalf of dying row prisoners, little ones in the justice method, men and women wrongly convicted or billed, very poor folks denied productive legal representation and other individuals whose trials are marred by racial bias or prosecutorial misconduct.
He and EJI employees have received reversals and decreased sentences in numerous capital instances that have significantly adjusted the constitutional doctrine governing the felony justice process. Stevenson has argued and received various scenarios at the U.S. Supreme Court, including a 2019 ruling defending condemned prisoners who endure from dementia and a landmark 2012 ruling that banned necessary lifetime-imprisonment-with no-parole sentences for all little ones 17 or youthful.
Stevenson has recently initiated major new anti-poverty and anti-discrimination initiatives that problem inequality in The usa, which includes creation of two remarkably acclaimed cultural internet sites that opened in 2018: the Countrywide Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, both equally in Montgomery, Alabama. These new nationwide landmark institutions chronicle the legacy of slavery, lynching, racial segregation and their link to mass incarceration and contemporary problems of racial bias.
His career-extensive quest for justice and human legal rights serves as a reminder of the impact GW learners can make as they go out in the planet.
“As an advocate for human legal rights, representative for the wrongly convicted and unfairly sentenced, and leader of anti-poverty and antidiscrimination attempts, Bryan Stevenson will provide as an inspiration to our graduates,” said President Mark S. Wrighton. “We are honored that Mr. Stevenson will give the keynote tackle at our Commencement ceremony on the National Mall.”
Stevenson started his job representing capital defendants and demise row prisoners in 1985, when he was a workers lawyer with the Southern Centre for Human Legal rights in Atlanta. A member of New York College School of Law’s medical faculty given that 1998 and at present the Aronson Loved ones Professor of Felony Justice, Stevenson was appointed NYU College Professor very last March.
He has worked with graduates and college students during his time in higher instruction to support them turn out to be directly involved in racial justice, anti-poverty and health and fitness equity get the job done. He looks forward to addressing and encouraging GW graduates to be world-wide citizens who advocate for some others.
“George Washington University has a prolonged history of manufacturing exceptional graduates who have produced a profound distinction in the entire world,” mentioned Stevenson. “I am honored to have the possibility to communicate to them on this sort of an remarkable working day in the existence of just about every university pupil.”
His operate has been widely regarded and celebrated, like with the prestigious MacArthur Basis “Genius” Prize the ABA Medal, the American Bar Association’s highest honor the Countrywide Medal of Liberty from the American Civil Liberties Union immediately after he was nominated by United States Supreme Court Justice John Stevens the Community Interest Attorney of the Yr by the Countrywide Association of Public Interest Attorneys and the Olaf Palme Prize for worldwide human rights. In 2003, the Modern society of American Law Lecturers introduced Stevenson the SALT Human Legal rights Award. In 2004, he gained the Award for Courageous Advocacy from the American Faculty of Demo Attorneys and also the Law firm for the People Award from the National Lawyers Guild.
Stevenson was named in Fortune’s 2016 and 2017 World’s Finest Leaders checklist. He received a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Faculty Award from New York College in 2014 and the Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize from the King Center in Atlanta in 2018.
He graduated in 1981 with a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from Japanese College in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He continued his instruction at Harvard, where he graduated in 1985 with the two a master’s in community coverage from the Kennedy School of Governing administration and a J.D. from the College of Law. He also retains honorary levels from much more than 40 universities, such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, the College of Pennsylvania and Oxford University.
Stevenson joins the ranks of previous GW Graduation speakers, including former Very first Lady Michelle Obama, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, chef, humanitarian and human legal rights advocate José Andrés, NBC News journalist Savannah Guthrie, and actor, director and producer Kerry Washington, B.A. ’98. He succeeds heritage-making Olympian alumna Elana Meyers Taylor, B.S. ’06, M.T.A. ’11, the most decorated Black athlete in Winter Olympics record and the oldest woman to medal for the United States at the Winter season Olympics in any sport, who sent the Commencement deal with final May well. These speakers have additional to a extended line of GW Graduation guests stretching back to the first ceremony in 1824, which honored the Marquis de Lafayette and Henry Clay.
Visit GW’s Graduation web site for more data about the week’s schedule and occasions.