“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice,” Bryan Stevenson once said.
The true-story film “Just Mercy” follows the life of Bryan Stevenson, a popular public interest lawyer. He is known for his work in death penalty trials and cases surrounding human rights alike. He has argued numerous times in front of the Supreme Court.
Bryan, who is played by Michael B. Jordan, embarks on a new journey in Alabama the summer following his Harvard Law School graduation. Upon receiving a grant to open a non-profit, he decides to take on public interest cases which largely affect black and brown citizens.
The movie focuses on how Bryan works to free a wrongly condemned death-row prisoner, Walter McMillian, who is played by Jamie Foxx. Walter was sentenced to death for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite an extensive amount of evidence leaning toward his innocence. The only witness to testify against him was a criminal who would benefit from his imprisonment.
This movie rekindles the flame of African American and social justice advocates alike. It speaks to the current systems of mass incarceration that continue to disproportionately affect communities of color. People that set up systems such as slavery, Jim Crow laws and current day mass incarceration seek to control a group seen as “less than” based on the color of their skin.
Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx both beautifully painted the story and showed raw emotion and honor through their characters.
“He is not a household name, I was unaware of the story beforehand and took the role to make people more aware of the real- life superhero Bryan Stevenson,” Michael B. Jordan shared.
I urge people of all ages to see the film not only as a reminder and reconciling for the fight that we must continually take part, but as a reminder that justice, truth and mercy are each other neighbors.