After an early walk with Finn and a morning of writing, I listened to Bryan Stevenson’s TED talk, “We need to talk about an injustice”. He’s the author of “Just Mercy / A Story of Justice and Redemption” and the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, in Montgomery, Alabama.

According to EJI’s website: Mr. Stevenson is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned.

In his TED talk, Attorney Stevenson attributed part of the intractability of our race problems to our unwillingness to be uncomfortable. He said, “we’re unwilling to commit to a process of truth and reconciliation”.

I learned that Germany has outlawed the death penalty because, well, how could they consciously execute people given their history? Makes sense.

But, Stevenson asks, what about our problematic history?

(Did you know that in Germany it’s also illegal to display swastikas? Can you imagine an America in which our morals, our relationship to history, and our leadership were such that there could be a law clearly and unequivocally outlawing Confederate flags?)

To support his assertion that “mass incarceration has fundamentally changed out world”, Stevenson cited the following (horrifying) statistics:

1972 — 300,000 people incarcerated

2018 — 2.3 million incarcerated

plus 7 million paroled or on probation.

Meanwhile, I think I’ll be in Salem on Saturday which means I’ll be skipping the march in Cambridge as well as the opening for the Fuller Craft Museum’s show in Brockton, Mass.

I posted this on FB and instagram already, but in case you missed it — the hat that I knit (circled in yellow) for my cousin Ginny Mallon (who marched on Washington last year) is part of a show called: Revolution in the Making: The Pussyhat Project.

7 thoughts on “Mercy

  1. Michelle in NYC

    You keep reminding us. I’m grateful. The statistics and the facts are truly hideous. I will not be subjecting myself to the march on Saturday but I do intend to make it up to the library to hear the speakers. I’ll go look at Ginnys site now.

  2. annalisasoren

    we’ll be marching in Providence this year. It should be a much more intimate event than Washington last year :0
    I’ll be checking out the show link, its so cool to have your work in it!

    1. deemallon

      thank you for registering your discontent! I went to Boston’s last year but things conspired against me (a little) going to Cambridge this year. The pix online of the various cities are absolutely amazing and inspiring! do you use instagram?

  3. Nancy

    There is a lot of room for improvement. I did not march this year. Getting there is overwhelming to me and I had no plan to go with anyone, besides the stress of so much time in the sun on my eye. But, I can and will vote!

    1. deemallon

      I had sister-plans yesterday and when they fell through I had to decide: go or not to go? I opted to stay home. I wish I had been there, but getting there would have been a gigantic pain in the ass — one I would’ve gladly considered a small price for being a good citizen except that I hadn’t had time to wrap my mind around it. If that makes sense. I got a lot of writing done.

      You need some great hats!

      1. Nancy

        Haha I really dislike wearing hats (the feel of it, the look of it – not that I’m huge on caring how I look), but I do have one I’ve been using for this recovery time.


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