This fall, I read a book entitled, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson.
The book tells the story of “Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.”–from the Goodreads page description.
Recently, I learned of Amnesty International’s Program, Write for Rights. It takes place from December 4 to the 18th and is very simple. You sign up to write one to multiple letters for people who have lost their rights.
The list of this year’s cases can be found here.
One of this year’s cases is Albert Woodfox, a man who has been in solitary confinement in a Louisiana jail for over 40 years for a murder he maintains he did not commit. There was no physical evidence linking him to the crime, his conviction has been overturned three times, and a judge has ordered his unconditional release – yet the Louisiana authorities continue to block his release. You can read his case here.
Amnesty International has done all the work and sample letters can be found for each person as well as ways to submit on-line letters in support of this year’s cases rights. There are even classroom kits and ways to host a writing party.
It only takes a few minutes, but Write for Rights is a great way to champion for someone who has lost their rights.