What if everyone in Wauwatosa read the same book at the same time? That’s the idea behind Tosa’s All-City Read, a common reading program designed to bring neighbors together and build a sense of camaraderie and community while promoting literacy at all ages. We hope you’ll join in the fun!
“The city that opens the same book closes it in greater harmony.” – Mary McGrory
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice, Just Mercy is a New York Times Best Seller by Bryan Stevenson.
Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machinations, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.
Just Mercy is an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of justice. (From the Equal Justice Initiative website)
Just Mercy has received numerous awards, and it is being made into a major motion picture starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx, to be released in January 2020.
Book giveaway: Saturday, September 21 at the Tosa Farmers Market
Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a human rights organization in Montgomery, Alabama. He is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated, and the condemned. Under his 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 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 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 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’s work has won him numerous awards, including:
- MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Prize
- The ABA Medal, the American Bar Association’s highest honor
- The National Medal of Liberty from the American Civil Liberties Union
- The Public Interest Lawyer of the Year by the National Association of Public Interest Lawyers
- The Olaf Palme Prize in Stockholm, Sweden, for international human rights
- New York University’s Distinguished Teaching Award
- The Gruber Foundation International Justice Prize
- The NAACP William Robert Ming Advocacy Award
- The National Legal Aid & Defender Association Lifetime Achievement Award
- The Ford Foundation Visionaries Award
- The Roosevelt Institute Franklin D. Roosevelt Freedom from Fear Award
- The American Psychiatric Association Human Rights Award
- The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Fred L. Shuttlesworth Award
- The Smithsonian Magazine American Ingenuity Award in Social Progress
- The Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize
- The Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize from the King Center in Atlanta
- The American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award
- He was named to the Time 100 list of the world’s most influential people in 2015 and Fortune’s 2016 and 2017 World’s Greatest Leaders list.
Mr. Stevenson has received 40 honorary doctoral degrees, including degrees from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Oxford University. He is a graduate of the Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Government. (From the Equal Justice Initiative website)
How to Participate
Copies of our Tosa’s All-City Read selection are available at the Tosa Library and for sale at Little Read Book and other bookstores. Once you’ve read the book, there are lots of ways to participate:
1. Join or start a book discussion in your neighborhood association.
2. Attend one of our public book discussions listed on our Events Page.
3. Take part in our fun events and activities. Come by yourself or bring your friends and neighbors!