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威尼斯游戏大厅 hosts Complex Dialogue series & 讲历史, igniting conversation around criminal justice reform

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在圣诞节,2019年的布赖恩·史蒂文森2014年纽约时报的电影改编畅销书 只是怜悯 was released in theaters. 威尼斯游戏大厅’s Black Student Union purchased and resold tickets to the campus community for only $2 and hosted a movie night.

One year prior, Stevenson visited the Oklahoma Christian University campus addressing the desperate need for reform in our criminal justice system. The Harvard lawyer spoke of innocent people who are convicted, tragic circumstances of youth incarceration, the problem of utilizing our prisons for mental health and drug rehabilitation and offered the solution of proximity. He encouraged students, as well as leaders from all facets of Oklahoma’s justice system, to become involved in a personal way.

本书只是怜悯的布赖恩·史蒂文森迹象份,后来变成电影

自1989年以来,exonerees已经失去了20,000年监禁。截至2014年, 自1973年以来340无辜的人的牺牲品死刑,并在死囚所有囚犯的4.1%是无辜的.

幸运的是,像布赖恩·史蒂文森领导人继续在乱世系统点燃的变化。

"Without ordinary heroes like Bryan Stevenson, the justice system would look different today than it did even a few decades ago,” 威尼斯游戏大厅 student Elise Miller said. “I am extremely proud to attend a university where complex conversations are important and world-changers are invited to share their wisdom.”

Fresh out of law school, Stevenson witnessed a desperately underserved incarcerated population in the state of Alabama. Inmates on death row had no legal representation, juveniles were being treated like adults and Stevenson refused to look the other way. 只是怜悯 primarily follows Stevenson’s journey with Walter McMillan, who the jury wrongly sentenced to death for the murder of 18-year-old Ronda Morrison. The court based their case on false witness, failing to take statements from those who were with McMillan the day of the murder. After five years, five appeals and an abundance of misreporting, Stevenson won McMillan’s release in 1993, after he had lost six years in solitary confinement on death row.

Thanks to the affordable tickets sponsored by the Black Student Union, students, employees, friends and family became more aware of the injustice within the criminal justice system too many people fall victim to, even today.

“I am beyond grateful that BSU hosted a showing of 只是怜悯 for us to continue the dialogue that Bryan Stevenson started on campus,” 威尼斯游戏大厅 student Kiva Maxwell said. “My encouragement is to read the book, watch the movie, do your research and get active. You will be better for it, and so will the greater 威尼斯游戏大厅 Community.”

汉尼拔·约翰逊教授威尼斯游戏大厅校园生活之前和塔尔萨种族大屠杀后

Stevenson’s visit to campus is just one step in 威尼斯游戏大厅’s journey to telling a complete history, recognizing stories that have been omitted from textbooks. In addition to Stevenson, many leaders in law enforcement and those who have fallen victim to the justice system have visited 威尼斯游戏大厅’s campus to share their story. On Feb. 3, 威尼斯游戏大厅 hosted Raymond Santana of the Central Park Five during the 讲历史 program. Santana lost 5 years in jail and was wrongfully convicted at the young age of 14. In the fall of 2019, attorney and author Hannibal Johnson spoke to the campus about the realities of the Tulsa Race Massacre, a tragedy long lost to history curriculum in our public schools.

雷蒙德·桑塔纳谈到生活在历史的exoneree讲2020

Stevenson’s event was a part of 威尼斯游戏大厅’s Complex Dialogue series, which brings insightful speakers to campus who show ways to combat injustice. The afternoon before Stevenson’s visit, 威尼斯游戏大厅 hosted Christy Sheppard in a community forum made up of judges to victims. Sheppard spoke about the murder of her cousin Debbie Carter and her delayed justice. In this case, two men lost over a decade in prison for the murder before being exonerated. Sheppard digs into the guilt, tragedy and whirlwind surrounding the case, which eventually turned into a Netflix documentary, “The Innocent Man.”

In 2010, 威尼斯游戏大厅 hosted the Women Incarcerated Summit as a part of the Complex Dialogue series. Those speaking discussed Oklahoma’s unfortunately high female incarceration rate. Panelists spoke about the impact this incarceration rate has on the community. Children of incarcerated women more likely end up getting in trouble. Even more, many people who end up in jail don’t deserve to be there. As a result, Oklahoma increasingly needs people to fight for the underrepresented.

刑事司法学生教授。锡德·布朗参观法院大楼

刑事司法学生 at 威尼斯游戏大厅 follow Stevenson’s advice regarding proximity. They personally experience courtrooms where they learn about the realities of drug, mental health and diversion cases, witnessing first-hand how to join together with leaders who devote their lives to improving Oklahoma’s overburdened courts and jails. In addition, students connected with leaders both on and off campus. They joined over 1,450 other change-makers in 威尼斯游戏大厅’s 2019 Criminal Justice Conference, diving deeper into the complexities of justice in one of the campus’s biggest conferences.

With the help of students, faculty, staff and the community, 威尼斯游戏大厅 has sparked difficult conversation around the need for criminal justice reform in Oklahoma. Thanks to the numerous guest speakers willing to share their struggle with social justice, our students will grow to be the next generation of change-makers.

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