TEDTalk: We Need to Talk About an Injustice

This post is part of a series we are publishing featuring inspirational talks from TED. Curators Betsy Quinn and Sarah Unger, who attended the TEDActive conference this year on behalf of Ketchum, identify some TED highlights for you to watch.

It is only fitting to share a TEDTalk that brought this year’s entire TED community to its feet: Bryan Stevenson, who shared this thought:

“I think in America, the opposite of poverty is justice. In too many places….the opposite of justice is poverty.”

Bryan is a public interest lawyer who runs the Equal Justice Initiative (eji.org), an Alabama-based group fighting poverty and racial discrimination in the U.S. criminal justice system. For those outside the U.S., states like Alabama and Mississippi were “ground zero” for the U.S. civil rights movement. Bryan has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned, and the Equal Justice Initiative has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating more than 65 innocent prisoners on death row, and confronting abuse of both the mentally ill and children who have been prosecuted for crimes as adults. His most recent victory: a ban on “life imprisonment without parole” sentences imposed on children convicted of most crimes in the United States.

The latter is the focus of his 2012 TEDTalk. It’s really worth a watch to study his storytelling style.  There were plenty of speakers who spoke of compelling causes, but it was the best storytellers who tended to receive the standing ovations from the audience.  Bryan is the epitome of a master storyteller – the delivery of his message was perfected into an art form. We believe it will both lift your heart, and make you shed a tear.