Bryan Stevenson, Founder of Equal Justice Initiative, To Give Keynote Address for Year of Civil Rights

Bryan Stevenson SmallApril 2, 2014 — Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, will speak at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 11 in Ford Chapel at Allegheny College. The talk is free and open to the public.

His presentation is a keynote address in the college’s Year of Civil Rights, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and explores the state of civil rights, broadly defined, in our world today.

The EJI is a nonprofit organization that provides legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal system.

A widely acclaimed public interest lawyer, Stevenson has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned. Under his leadership, the EJI has won major 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.

The Equal Justice Initiative, which is based in Montgomery, Alabama, recently won a historic ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court holding that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger are unconstitutional. The EJI has also initiated major new anti-poverty and anti-discrimination efforts.

Stevenson’s work fighting poverty and challenging racial discrimination in the criminal justice system has won him numerous awards, including the ABA Wisdom Award for Public Service, the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Award Prize, the Olaf Palme International Prize, the ACLU National Medal of Liberty, the National Public Interest Lawyer of the Year Award, the NAACP Ming Award for Advocacy, the Gruber Prize for International Justice and the Ford Foundation Visionaries Award.

A graduate of the Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Government, Stevenson has been awarded 13 honorary doctorate degrees. He is also a professor of law at the New York University School of Law.

More information on Year of Civil Rights events at Allegheny College can be found at