In Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson traces the struggle to transform the U.S. criminal justice system. That title, in two small words, may help us know how to move forward in this hard time, when our streets are filled day after day with people protesting police violence against black people and, more urgently, the racism rooted deep in our lives and our institutions. Just Mercy states plainly that justice and mercy are inseparable and equally important. For justice without mercy is a blind, rigid application of laws, which themselves might be unjust; but mercy without justice can allow people with privilege and resources to feel good about themselves, while leaving unjust and brutal systems firmly in place in almost every area of our shared lives. Imagining and helping create a society where justice and mercy meet and enrich each other may be the hardest and most essential work we’re called to by the events of our time and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
By Mara Faulkner, OSB