This is a TED talk that Bryan Stevenson did this month. He is the Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative of Montgomery, Alabama. I’ve seen Stevenson speak live once before, when he was honored by Public Advocates in San Francisco. He is an incredibly moving speaker and a master storyteller. I cannot recommend this talk enough.
At the 8:54 mark, Stevenson launches in on a deeply incisive segment on the problem of ignoring how our history connects to our present, and what that means for current American criminal justice. As I watched the talk, I felt as though someone were articulating exactly what I hope to contribute to our national drug policy discussion with this blog. From the talk:
We don’t like to talk about our history. And because of that we really haven’t understood what it’s meant to do the things we’ve done, historically. We’re constantly running into each other, we’re constantly creating tensions and conflict – we have a hard time talking about race. And I believe it’s because we are unwilling to commit ourselves to a process of truth and reconciliation.