‘America’s Mandela’ Bryan Stevenson Calls For Criminal Justice Reform


Publish Date:
January 18, 2016
The Stanford Daily
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Over 800 people waited outside CEMEX Auditorium for the 2016 Anne and Loren Kieve Distinguished Speaker Lecture on Wednesday evening. As the doors opened, 600 people flowed into the building; 200 were directed into overflow classrooms, where the event was streamed, and dozens more went upstairs to log into available computers and watch a live stream. But regardless of where the lecture was being watched, keynote speaker Bryan Stevenson’s message about race and the criminal justice system was loud and clear.

This lecture, a joint event sponsored by the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE) and OpenXChange, marks the 11th annual lecture uniting leading scholars to discuss issues pertaining to race and ethnicity. This year’s distinguished speaker, Stevenson, is a pioneer in the field of race and ethnicity studies.

Professor of law Robert Weisberg J.D. ’79 said, “Crime dropped precipitously in the 1990s, but incarceration kept going up.”

Professor of political science Gary Segura suggested that race is at the root of this issue, pointing to stop-and-frisk laws that allow police officers to racially profile. Associate professor of psychology Jennifer Eberhardt drew upon her research with implicit biases, explaining that her studies show that police officers tend to associate words like “arrest,” “capture” and “shoot” with images of black faces more often than with images of white faces.

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