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UC Santa Barbara Library is excited to announce the selection of a book for UCSB Reads 2016: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, the award-winning memoir by attorney Bryan Stevenson.
Now in its 10th year, UCSB Reads brings the campus and Santa Barbara community together for a common reading experience. Using Just Mercy as a starting point, we aim to engage readers in dialogue about issues of local and national significance, including racial inequality, capital punishment, and social injustice. The book was selected by a panel of faculty, students, staff and community representatives.
Stevenson has been representing capital defendants and death row prisoners since 1985. He has argued six cases before the Supreme Court, and won a ruling on behalf of juveniles in the justice system. He has said: “The opposite of poverty isn’t wealth ... the opposite of poverty is justice.” Stevenson, who grew up poor in a racially segregated neighborhood in Delaware, is a Harvard Law School graduate and a professor at the New York University School of Law.
Just Mercy, praised by critics as “compelling,” “searing,” and “inspiring,” is a combination of memoir and reporting. The book chronicles the author’s own life as well as the stories of defendants he has helped, most notably Walter McMillian, a prisoner on death row whom he helped exonerate. In 1989, Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit legal organization dedicated to defending death row prisoners, juvenile offenders, people who have been wrongly convicted, and those who have suffered racial bias in the criminal justice system.
During the winter and spring quarters, the UCSB Library will sponsor faculty panels, book discussions, film screenings, and other events on campus and at local libraries. Stevenson will offer a free lecture in UCSB’s Campbell Hall on April 18, 2016.
UCSB Reads is presented by the UCSB Library, Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor, Arts & Lectures, Associated Students, the Santa Barbara Public Library, and additional campus and community partners.
We hope you enjoy reading this thought-provoking book, and we look forward to your participation in UCSB Reads.