SUNY Oneonta has chosen "Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption" by Bryan Stevenson as its Common Read book for 2018. As part of this honor, Stevenson will deliver the 2018 Mills Distinguished Lecture at 7 p.m. Sept. 24 in the Dewar Arena at the Alumni Field House.
This event is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.
A critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller, "Just Mercy" presents the story of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery, Ala. Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative as a young lawyer to represent the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children. "Just Mercy" describes the unfairness and inequality he and his clients encountered within America’s justice system.
Under Stevenson’s leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting the abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill and aiding children who were prosecuted as adults. Stevenson has successfully argued several cases in the United States Supreme Court and recently won a historic ruling that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger are unconstitutional. Stevenson and his staff have won reversals, relief or release for over 125 wrongly condemned prisoners on death row. Stevenson has initiated major new anti-poverty and anti-discrimination efforts that challenge the legacy of racial inequality in America, including major projects to educate communities about slavery, lynching and racial segregation.
SUNY Oneonta's Common Read advances diversity by encouraging students to examine and better understand topics such as equity, inclusion, and personal history through many lenses. It aims to further infuse cultural literacy into our academic program by asking all incoming freshmen to read a diversity-related book, which then is discussed in fall courses across several disciplines.