Together We Learn Group to Discuss Stevenson’s Critically-Acclaimed Book, ‘Just Mercy’

Bryan Stevenson’s book, Just Mercy, is the next offering of Together We Learn.

Registration is now open for the next “Together We Learn” virtual, Zoom-based discussion group sponsored by CHHSM, which will concentrate on Just Mercy, the best-selling book by Bryan Stevenson, noted lawyer and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) based in Montgomery, Ala.

For the fifth “Together We Learn” offering, the group will meet in one-hour sessions on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. ET/12 p.m. CT/11 a.m. MT/10 a.m. PT. The group begins Sept. 12 and runs for seven sessions.

“This fall, we will read and discuss Bryan Stevenson’s book, Just Mercy, which offers a profound exploration of themes such as racial discrimination, mass incarceration, and the power of compassion and empathy,” said Jamar Doyle, president and CEO of CHHSM. “By delving into these vital issues, participants will gain a deeper understanding of the urgent need for reform and the transformative power of proximity, love, and forgiveness in healing our communities. Join us on this enlightening journey of understanding as we work to collectively build a better future for everyone.”

The program from the Valerie Russell Luncheon at General Synod.

CHHSM members and friends were introduced to Stevenson during the UCC’s General Synod this past summer in Indianapolis, where he delivered the keynote address July 1 during the Valerie Russell Luncheon.

“Bryan Stevenson was an incredibly powerful speaker at General Synod this summer,” said the Rev. George Graham, CHHSM vice president. “I have read Just Mercy and know that he writes as compellingly as he speaks.  I look forward to reading the book again, this time with the Together We Learn group. The discussions add depth and richness to anything we read.”

Just Mercy tells the powerful true story of EJI, from its beginning with a small staff facing the United States’ highest death sentencing and execution rates. The book continues through a successful campaign to challenge the cruel practice of sentencing children to die in prison, and illuminates revolutionary projects designed to confront U.S. citizens with their history of racial injustice.

In addition to EJI, Stevenson also is the founder of the Legacy Museum, and National Memorial for Peace and Justice, also in Montgomery.

“I think it’s pretty hard to hear, see, or read Bryan Stevenson and not leave that experience feeling moved and inspired,” said the Rev. Dr. Elyse Berry, CHHSM’s associate for advocacy and leadership development. “I can’t wait to dig into his book with a community of fellow disciples of justice and mercy. What I’m wondering is where we might feel moved to go, and what might we be inspired to do? And of course how and with whom. I also wonder about the ways in which Stevenson’s work and powerful storytelling will take shape in each of us. I hope we can read this book in an embodied way — let it transform us in our bones.”

As with all “Together We Learn” programs, the discussion group is free, online, and registrants are not required to attend every session.

Here are the dates and topics:

  • Sept. 12: Introduction to the Material and Welcome
  • Sept. 26: Introduction, Chapters 1 and 2
  • Oct. 10: Chapters 3, 4, 5
  • Oct. 24: Chapters 6,7,8
  • Nov. 7: Chapters 9, 10, 11
  • Nov. 21: Chapters 12, 13, 14
  • Dec. 5: Chapters 15, 16, Epilogue

Together We Learn was created as a direct result of the CHHSM board of directors’ Statement on the Pandemic of Systemic Racism as a tool to help members i their antiracist learnings.

To sign up for the discussion group:

  • Purchase a copy of the book.
  • Sign up for the group and CHHSM will send participants calendar invitations for the group, complete with Zoom instructions.
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