We all have favorite books that cause us to think deeply about the world. Books that helped to shape us into the people we are today. A book invites us into a story, and we learn and grow as we engage with the story. A story then passes from the page into us, to take root in our imaginations, minds and hearts.
Harper Lee’s classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, is one of the stories that deeply influenced me. The story is told from the perspective of Scout, a young girl. In the story Scout is forced by events in her life to see that the world is a tangle of good and evil, joy and sadness. As the story unfolds, Scout’s father, attorney Atticus Finch, makes a stand for justice for an innocent man who has been unjustly accused, and we feel the power of story at work in us as we hope the right things will happen and justice will prevail.
I recently read a book of similar magnitude. Just Mercy is a nonfiction book with a story that is similar to To Kill a Mockingbird. The author, Bryan Stevenson, is a modern day attorney working in the South. Just Mercy takes us through an arrest, murder trial, and all the way inside death row at an Alabama prison. Just Mercy is a shocking account of injustice and redemption. A story that invites us to question the extraordinary high rate of criminal incarceration in our country.
Just Mercy is a book I needed to read. It is a book that further opened my eyes to injustice in our world. It tells the story of individuals who are locked up and even sentenced to die without ever receiving a fair trial by their peers. I encourage you to read the book, and think about the true stories that Bryan Stevenson shares in this book. Choose to listen to the voices that cry out for redemption and freedom, voices that ask for the basic rights promised to every citizen of this country.