Bryan Stevenson, NYU law professor, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, spoke at Christ Church, Charlotte, NC, describing segregation as child abuse, and drawing comparisons to the Holocaust.
“You can’t go anywhere in Germany without seeing reminders of the people’s commitment not to repeat the Holocaust,” Stevenson told an audience Sunday morning at Christ Episcopal Church in Charlotte. “We don’t do that here. We do the opposite.”
But, reports the Charlotte Observer, he urged his audience to “find the courage get past the discomfort” of facing an ignoble past in the interests of doing better in the future.
Stevenson was speaking at the Faith Forum of Christ Church, Charlotte, NC. Together with Christ Church Rector Chip Edens, he explored the relationship between confession and justice, repentance and truth-telling, and how our fear of our past sins binds us to them, and perpetuates cycles of poverty, racism, and trauma, through disparities like the school to prison pipeline, and the permanent disenfranchisement of people convicted of felonies.
Proximity to suffering, closeness to the cross, he said, is part of the Christian way, and is a privilege. Proximity to those who are still suffering can bring them hope, plant their feet on higher ground, as one man sang from death row, in his chains.
Stevenson told the story of a woman, herself an advocate for victims of violence crime, who named him a stone catcher: one of those who catch and turn away those stones that people pick up and throw even after Jesus has said, “Let the one without sin cast the first stone.”
The Faith Forum with Bryan Stevenson at Christ Church, Charlotte can be found here.
Photo: Bryan Stevenson via Christ Church, Charlotte