Newton, NC – The Catawba County Library, in collaboration with Catawba Valley Community College, is initiating a community read and discussion series of Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, an unforgettable true story about the redeeming potential of mercy, and winner of the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in nonfiction.

Just Mercy is a memorable account of an idealistic young lawyer’s coming of age, an emotional window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

Bryan Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those who are most desperate and in need. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, politics, and legal maneuvering that transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever, and led to this widely acclaimed book.

“This community read challenges us to consider ourselves as part of a larger community and society,” said Library Director Suzanne White, “bringing us together to share a book, engage civically, discuss important issues of justice, equality, and poverty—and how we can work together to make a difference.”

Programming, which began at CVCC earlier this year, continues through March at all Catawba County Library locations, and includes TED Talks, Book Talks, film screenings, dramatic readings, and more, centered around the concept of mercy in the criminal justice system. There will be limited book giveaways at each event.

On March 20, keynote speaker Anthony Ray Hinton, recently exonerated by Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative after more than three decades on death row, will share his powerful story. He will speak at 11am at CVCC’s Tarleton Center, and again at 6 pm at the 1924 Courthouse in Newton, with a reception to follow at the History Museum of Catawba County.

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Photos: Author Bryan Stevenson with the cover of Just Mercy.
Bottom photo: Keynote speaker Anthony Ray Hinton (left) with Bryan Stevenson after Hinton’s exoneration.