We named our charter school in honor of Bryan Stevenson, an internationally renowned lawyer and social justice advocate, born and raised in Delaware. He has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated, and the condemned.
Human rights advocate
Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a human rights organization in Montgomery, Alabama. Under his leadership, EJI has won significant legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill, and aiding children prosecuted as adults.
Mr. Stevenson has argued and won multiple cases at the United States Supreme Court, including a 2019 ruling protecting condemned prisoners with dementia and a landmark 2012 ruling that banned mandatory life-imprisonment-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger. He and his staff have won reversals, relief, or release from prison for over 135 wrongly condemned prisoners on death row and won relief for hundreds of others wrongly convicted or unfairly sentenced.
Challenging inequality in America
Mr. Stevenson has initiated major new anti-poverty and anti-discrimination efforts that challenge inequality in America. He led the creation of two highly acclaimed cultural sites, which opened in 2018: the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. These new national landmark institutions chronicle the legacy of slavery, lynching, and racial segregation and the connection to mass incarceration and contemporary issues of racial bias.
We all have a responsibility to create a just society.”— Bryan Stevenson
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, a memoir by Stevenson, documents his career defending poor or marginalized clients. It has received many honors and won multiple non-fiction book awards. The book was also adapted into a film, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019, and was theatrically released later that year. The film received positive reviews from critics and grossed $50.4 million. Both lead actors won NAACP Image Awards for their respective roles. All students will receive the young adult version of Just Mercy to inspire them as they grow into their leadership at BASSE.