A couple of years ago I offered my thoughts on the great book Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. In that post I focused on one of the more memorable lines from the book, “each of is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.”
This afternoon I had a chance to attend a presentation by Bryan at Villanova University, and it was as wonderful as his book. Part of his presentation recounted stories from his book, and other parts encouraged those in the audience, particularly the students to “get proximate” with someone who is disadvantaged so that you can truly get to know his or her situation.
He had another memorable line tonight; I can’t remember if it is from the book or not, “Hopelessness is the enemy of justice.”
He noted how powerful hope can be in helping people to restore their dignity, but that without it, there can be no justice.
I think what he means is that without hope, people simply give up. And giving up means that you are no longer willing to fight for what is right, to fight for justice, either for yourself or for others.
So maintaining a sense of hope is one of the best ways to fight for justice. Doing so doesn’t cost much, and it has a great return.