Brian Stevenson + Equal Justice Initiative

Note: The digital article about Brian Stevenson is behind a paywall, sorry!! Please listen to his TEDTalk and check out the other links provided. I will see about getting the article to share from the WSJ. -sD

Yesterday, during my kids’ gymnastics practice, a Wall Street Journal magazine was hiding in the disheveled rack and Brian Stevenson was looking directly at me. I’ve watched Mr. Stevenson’s TED Talk and know a little bit about his work at the Equal Justice Initiative. I am planning a field trip to the the National Memorial for Peace and Justice (informally known as the National Lynching Museum) before 2020 hits.

I sat there looking at the cover of the WSJ Innovators Issue and thought to myself, “Am I ready to read this?” I had the time, I had the energy, and I had enough curiosity to take the leap. Why did I go through this decision process?

Because, empathy is hard to practice when the subject matter is potentially infuriating and tragic. Since this issue was about innovation, I believed in the hope that it could provide and the steps to help support the mission of equal justice.

Some quick lessons

Things I walked away with as I approached this heavy empathy experience:

  1. PRO: There is safety in learning about a difficult subject through reading (personal immersion).
  2. CON: Questions cannot be answered immediately, so that leaves me wanting more.

My next steps:

  1. Field trip planning. Finish planning for the Empathy Lab trip to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice
  2. Put together an Energy + Empathy action plan. Create something simple that can help others approach hard subjects, conversations, and people. (Will share at Empathy Morning on November 20th and will publish soon after practice.)

Thanks for listening!

Shelton

PS: A quote that I really enjoyed from the article. It’s rough. Typed out below.

“Injustice prevails where hopelessness persists. If we’re not imagining things we haven’t seen, if we’re not willing to believe things we haven’t seen, then we’re going to be defined by all of the inequality and injustice that is all around us.”

Brian Stevenson paraphrasing Hebrews 11

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