Bryan Stevenson, whose work as a social justice lawyer and human rights advocate has received reversals, aid or launch from jail for greater than 135 wrongly convicted prisoners on dying row—along with aid for a whole bunch of different males, girls and kids wrongly convicted or unfairly sentenced—will ship the Graduation deal with at George Washington College’s Graduation on the Nationwide Mall on Might 21, 2023.
Stevenson will obtain an honorary diploma of Physician of Legal guidelines.
Stevenson is the writer and topic of The New York Instances bestseller Simply Mercy, which was later tailored into the 2019 motion-picture movie during which actor Michael B. Jordan portrayed Stevenson on the large display. The storyline recounted Stevenson’s work exonerating Walter McMillian (performed by Jamie Foxx within the film), who had been unjustly convicted and sentenced to dying. The ebook received the 2015 Carnegie Medal for Finest Nonfiction, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the NAACP Picture Award for Finest Nonfiction.
Since 1989, Stevenson has been the manager director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a human rights group he based that focuses on social justice within the context of felony justice reform in the US. EJI litigates on behalf of dying row prisoners, kids within the justice system, individuals wrongly convicted or charged, poor individuals denied efficient authorized illustration and others whose trials are marred by racial bias or prosecutorial misconduct.
He and EJI employees have obtained reversals and diminished sentences in quite a few capital circumstances which have considerably modified the constitutional doctrine governing the felony justice system. Stevenson has argued and received a number of circumstances on the U.S. Supreme Courtroom, together with a 2019 ruling defending condemned prisoners who are suffering from dementia and a landmark 2012 ruling that banned necessary life-imprisonment-without-parole sentences for all kids 17 or youthful.
Stevenson has lately initiated main new anti-poverty and anti-discrimination efforts that problem inequality in America, together with creation of two extremely acclaimed cultural websites that opened in 2018: the Nationwide Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, each in Montgomery, Alabama. These new nationwide landmark establishments chronicle the legacy of slavery, lynching, racial segregation and their connection to mass incarceration and modern problems with racial bias.
His career-long quest for justice and human rights serves as a reminder of the influence GW college students could make as they exit on the earth.
“As an advocate for human rights, consultant for the wrongly convicted and unfairly sentenced, and chief of anti-poverty and antidiscrimination efforts, Bryan Stevenson will function an inspiration to our graduates,” mentioned President Mark S. Wrighton. “We’re honored that Mr. Stevenson will present the keynote deal with at our Graduation ceremony on the Nationwide Mall.”
Stevenson started his profession representing capital defendants and dying row prisoners in 1985, when he was a employees legal professional with the Southern Middle for Human Rights in Atlanta. A member of New York College College of Legislation’s medical college since 1998 and at present the Aronson Household Professor of Prison Justice, Stevenson was appointed NYU College Professor final March.
He has labored with graduates and college students all through his time in larger schooling to assist them grow to be immediately concerned in racial justice, anti-poverty and well being fairness work. He seems ahead to addressing and inspiring GW graduates to be international residents who advocate for others.
“George Washington College has a protracted historical past of manufacturing excellent graduates who’ve made a profound distinction on the earth,” mentioned Stevenson. “I’m honored to have the chance to talk to them on such a unprecedented day within the life of each college pupil.”
His work has been widely known and celebrated, together with with the celebrated MacArthur Basis “Genius” Prize; the ABA Medal, the American Bar Affiliation’s highest honor; the Nationwide Medal of Liberty from the American Civil Liberties Union after he was nominated by United States Supreme Courtroom Justice John Stevens; the Public Curiosity Lawyer of the Yr by the Nationwide Affiliation of Public Curiosity Attorneys; and the Olaf Palme Prize for worldwide human rights. In 2003, the Society of American Legislation Lecturers introduced Stevenson the SALT Human Rights Award. In 2004, he acquired the Award for Brave Advocacy from the American School of Trial Attorneys and likewise the Lawyer for the Folks Award from the Nationwide Attorneys Guild.
Stevenson was named in Fortune’s 2016 and 2017 World’s Biggest Leaders checklist. He acquired a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. College Award from New York College in 2014 and the Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize from the King Middle in Atlanta in 2018.
He graduated in 1981 with a bachelor of arts diploma in philosophy from Japanese College in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He continued his schooling at Harvard, the place he graduated in 1985 with each a grasp’s in public coverage from the Kennedy College of Authorities and a J.D. from the College of Legislation. He additionally holds honorary levels from greater than 40 universities, together with Harvard, Yale, Princeton, the College of Pennsylvania and Oxford College.
Stevenson joins the ranks of earlier GW Graduation audio system, together with former First Girl Michelle Obama, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, chef, humanitarian and human rights advocate José Andrés, NBC Information journalist Savannah Guthrie, and actor, director and producer Kerry Washington, B.A. ’98. He succeeds history-making Olympian alumna Elana Meyers Taylor, B.S. ’06, M.T.A. ’11, essentially the most adorned Black athlete in Winter Olympics historical past and the oldest girl to medal for the US on the Winter Olympics in any sport, who delivered the Graduation deal with final Might. These audio system have added to a protracted line of GW Graduation visitors stretching again to the primary ceremony in 1824, which honored the Marquis de Lafayette and Henry Clay.
Go to GW’s Commencement website for extra details about the week’s schedule and occasions.