At Catalyst Conference 2012, Bryan Stevenson of Equal Justice Initiative discussed how to be an advocate of hope and redemption. I think in order to be leaders of justice, we have to think about our identity.
There is power in identity. And when we create the right type of relationship with people around us, we can change the world around us. We have the power to say things to the world around us.
The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world. In 1972, the US prison population was 300,000 people. Today it’s 2.3 million. This includes 3,000 kids serving life sentences.
The biggest problem we have is the profound absence of hope. What can we do to deal with people who are marginalized?
I believe that if we understand what it is to be an agent of hope and redemption, you have to know why you are doing what you are doing.
Why do we want to kill all the broken people?
Why do we want to throw away all the broken people?
Why do we want to hide all the broken people?
We must help the marginalized and the broken because we are broken, too. But brokenness can be mended by grace. Brokenness can be healed by mercy.
If you steal, you are not just a thief. If you kill, you are not just a murderer. We are more than our faults.
The opposite of poverty is not wealth. The opposite of poverty is justice.
If people of faith and communities of faith believe that every valley will be lifted up then surely we must be willing to embrace the broken.
It is difficult to do in a place with so much anger and so much fear. It will make you tired, tired, tired. That is why you must be brave, brave, brave.
Special thanks to Skylark Audio Video for covering my travel expenses so that I can live blog the conference for you.