Young Philanthropist Update

TPC Young Philanthropists and friends came together on the evening of November 2 to discuss Bryan Stevenson’s book Just Mercy, and hear from TPC grantee the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute. The book traces Stevenson’s journey in founding the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), an Alabama non-profit that offers representation to those illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state jails and prisons. The EJI advocates for the end of the death penalty and mass incarceration in the US.

Rachel Rodrigues, Director of Programs at the LDB Peace Institute, and Reverend Wayne S. Daley, Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator, provided context on their work to set the stage for the discussion. “Violence has no winners,” said Reverend Daley, a common theme of Just Mercy. Both Rodrigues and Reverend Wayne stressed the importance of a place like the Peace Institute, a positive force in the community where individuals from both sides of violent encounters can go to refuel and recharge as they begin their journey of healing.

The discussion centered on the purpose of the criminal justice system, its impact on youth and those affected by trauma, aspects of Stevenson’s work that connected to our own professions, and steps that we can take in our own lives to counteract the problems exposed in the book.

These are a few action items we all came away with:

Young Philanthropist Amy Gaskin called the conversation, “equal parts troubling and inspiring.” We left the event grateful for organizations like the Peace Institute, and also fortified, knowing we are surrounded by those with a shared commitment to discuss difficult topics and tackle persistent problems.