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Cleveland Public Library Presents Bryan Stevenson

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Author and civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares insights and lessons from more than 30 years fighting injustice and inequality.

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Cleveland Public Library welcomes Bryan Stevenson, the founding director of the Equal Justice Institute in Montgomery, Alabama. His insights and lessons learned in 30 years on the front lines fighting injustice and inequality in the criminal justice system of the United States directly reflect on the current social movements protesting oppression, discrimination, and even death of far too many people of color at the hands of law enforcement officers.

Under Mr. Stevenson's leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill, and aiding children prosecuted as adults.

Mr. Stevenson has argued and won multiple cases at the United States Supreme Court, including a 2019 ruling protecting condemned prisoners who suffer from dementia and a landmark 2012 ruling that banned mandatory life-imprisonment-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger. Mr. Stevenson and his staff have won reversals, relief, or release from prison for over 135 wrongly condemned prisoners on death row and won relief for hundreds of others wrongly convicted or unfairly sentenced.

Mr. Stevenson has initiated major new anti-poverty and anti-discrimination efforts that challenge inequality in America. He led the creation of two highly acclaimed cultural sites which opened in 2018: the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. These new national landmark institutions chronicle the legacy of slavery, lynching, and racial segregation, and the connection to mass incarceration and contemporary issues of racial bias. Mr. Stevenson is also a Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law.

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