Growing up, we've all been taught that the bad guys go to jail; from the biggest supervillains to the smallest jewelry store robbers; at the end of the day, the good guys always win. But what if I told you that as lawyer and professor Bryan Stevenson once said, "We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent. wealth, not culpability shapes outcomes." Today according to prison policy.org there are over 2.3 million people in prisons all across America, more than any other nation in the world! And a staggering number of them, aren't even guilty of the crimes they've been charged. our criminal justice system as it works today is badly broken; it's breaking the people trapped within it along with their friends, families, and communities. And though you may not know it, it's breaking us too. Now after all that, add on top the global pandemic we're living through. It's been reported that due to normal overcrowding practices in most state and federal prisons that the chances of those incarcerated during this pandemic of being infected by the Coronavirus are 5 times higher than the national average, and the death rate (which has been steadily increasing ) is more than 2 times higher. let that sink in for a minute. We cannot sit idly by and watch while this system continues to lock people up, treat fellow human beings as subpar, and throw away the key; people need help and they need it from us. As Nelson Mandela once said, "A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but [instead by how it treats] it's lowest and most vulnerable ones."
When I first read Bryan Stevenson's book 'Just Mercy' I was 14; my older sister had read the book earlier that year and couldn't stop talking about it so I decided to borrow her copy and read for myself... and my family hasn't heard the end of it since. "Did you know that there are over 2.3 MILLION PEOPLE in prison all across America?" "Did you know that once you're labeled a felon in the system you lose your right to vote in most states?" Reading 'Just Mercy' (Whose author, Bryan Stevenson, is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative) changed my life; how could our criminal justice system be so blatantly broken, and more importantly, why isn't this common knowledge? I chose to fundraise for the EJI because I believe that as Mr. Stevenson says, "Each of us is more than the worst thing we've ever done," and that it's each of our jobs collectively to--as the bible says in Micah 6:8-- "Do justice and love mercy"
To learn more head over to eji.org