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Social Justice Book Club

Categories: Blog

YWCA of Asheville is excited to further promote our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women by hosting our first social justice book club event! The Club will meet at 6pm at Firestorm Books & Coffee on Tuesday, April 23rd. RSVP is required.

Our first book is called Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson. This book illustrates an account of inequity occurring in the American criminal justice system and how this impacts the lives of America’s most vulnerable, over-looked community members. This will be a great opportunity to read and discuss Just Mercy before Bryan Stevenson’s free public lecture on the 25th. YWCA of Asheville would love to bring a diverse group of individuals together to discuss social justice issues and be surrounded by those whose values and beliefs align with our mission.

Bryan Stevenson is an attorney, activist, and best-selling author who led the team that created the first national memorial to victims of lynching. Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). 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 mentally ill and aiding children prosecuted as adults. Stevenson recently won a historic ruling in the U.S Supreme Court banning mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger.

A professor of clinical law at the New York University School of Law, Stevenson has been awarded the American Bar Association’s highest honor, the ABA Medal, and the National Medal of Liberty from the American Civil Liberties Union – he was nominated for the latter by U.S Supreme Court Justice John Stevens. Stevenson has been dubbed “America’s Nelson Mandela” by none other than Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.

Stevenson has also become a national leader in advocacy and public education about mass incarceration and its roots. In April 2018, EJI opened a new museum, The Legacy Museum: From enslavement to Mass Incarceration, built on the site of a former slave warehouse in downtown Montgomery. This is a companion to a national memorial to victims of lynching, The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which opened at the same time, gaining national news coverage, including a feature by Oprah Winfrey on CBS’ 60 Minutes.

Thanks to Alayna Graves, Alexis Moon, Patrick Bahls and their tremendous fundraising event to create equitable access to Just Mercy, we have a total of 20 free copies (first come first serve). If you would like to sign up for our first book club event and obtain a copy of the book, please sign up HERE . If you have any further questions please contact alyssa.luna@ywcaofasheville.org. We hope to see you there!