Going into the Bryan Stevenson lecture, I had high expectations. I had become accustomed to Bryan Stevenson and his work after visiting the National Memorial for Peace and Justice on the humes trip to Montgomery, and I knew the impact he had in the legal world. However, my expectations were blown away after hearing him speak.
Bryan is a pioneer. A leader for social change and justice and is truly changing the world. Bryan Stevenson stressed 4 points in his lecture about how we as citizens can create justice and change the world.
The first way is to get proximate. Sometimes we try to incorporate practices to and with people in which we have great distances. We must close the gap and get proximate to others to truly create change. Bryan wanted to impact peoples lives and be an advocate for those in need. He wasn’t able to truly feel as impactful until he made himself proximate with those he was helping. He went to the jails to meet with clients and understand their situations.
The second point Bryan discussed was changing the narratives we’ve learned in the present world. The narrative must change: about children, about race, about privilege, about injustice, and much more. Injustice and inequality is often not even acknowledged because people do not talk about it, or an issue is blamed on something else or someone else. Bryan said that we need an “Era of Truth Telling” and embracing redemption. Saying the words “I’m sorry” creates strength and now weakness.
The third point Bryan made was to stay hopeful. To him hopefulness does not mean you don’t recognize the problem, rather it means you’re willing to fight against the problem. Hope is an important element in this world and it is needed to help us persevere through the injustice and hardships that occur in our world.
Finally, Bryan’s fourth point was that we must step out of our comfort zone. Dedicating your time and effort in uncomfortable places, uncomfortable people, and uncomfortable experiences can help change the world. We often refuse to see hope in broken people instead of starting with redemption and hopefulness. We are all broken, so we need love and effort to help beat the drum for justice.
Bryan’s lecture exhibited what we need to help heal our broken selves and broken world. We need to put ourselves into positions that are uncomfortable. We need to change our narratives about how we talk about the world, and we also need love.