Just Mercy: Join Us for the Spring Shared Reading Experience


Looking for a thought-provoking activity? Join NDWC groups, ND Clubs, and alumnae around the globe for our tenth Shared Reading Experience, which will coincide with Lent. Many of you read Educated with us this fall (thanks!), and we’re looking forward to another opportunity for lively and engaging discussion. We hope you’ll take part as we unpack Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson.

Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a human rights organization in Montgomery, Alabama, and a Professor of Law at the NYU School of Law. He has won relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued five times before the Supreme Court, and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color. He has also received numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius’ Grant.

In Just Mercy, Stevenson tells the story of EJI’s formation, from its early days with a small staff facing the nation’s highest death sentencing and execution rates to revolutionary projects designed to confront Americans with our history of racial injustice. Central to the story is one of EJI’s first clients, Walter McMillian, a young black man who was sentenced to die for the murder of a young white woman that he didn’t commit. 

Positive feedback about the book comes from numerous sources. A reviewer from The New York Times Book Review states that “The message of this book … is that evil can be overcome, a difference can be made. Just Mercy will make you upset and it will make you hopeful.” In response to its tremendous impact, the book was also made into a feature film, released this month and starring Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, and Brie Larson.

Read with ND Women Connect as we explore the themes of mercy, forgiveness, and redemption during Lent.

Here's how you can participate in the Shared Read

  • READ.  Pick up a copy of Just Mercy and read along with us.
  • JOIN.  Participate in our virtual discussion via the Shared Read Facebook group (begins Wednesday, February 26 and wraps up on Thursday, April 9). You'll get a suggested reading schedule as well as reflection questions, background info about the author and more. All are encouraged to follow along and post questions and comments on the group page.
  • DISCUSS.  In addition to the online conversation, you may check with your NDWC local group (if applicable) to see if they are planning an in-person discussion in February/March/April. Scheduled meet-ups will also be posted on the Shared Read Facebook group.

Love reading? We need your help!

To ensure a thought-provoking discussion, we need a range of voices bringing their own unique experiences and opinions. That’s where you come in! Please consider becoming a Shared Read volunteer for the Spring 2020 event. Here’s what you need to know:

  • What does it involve? Shared Read volunteers commit to reading the book and posting brief questions/observations/other interesting content to the virtual discussion via Facebook once a week for 6 weeks starting February 26 (more frequently, if you choose).
  • Do I have to be a "book expert" to volunteer? No expertise or special knowledge needed, and you don't need to worry about finishing the book before we begin. While some will have already finished reading by February 26, others may choose to follow our suggested reading schedule (average of 50-ish pages/week during the online discussion period) and post a question or comment that relates to what they've read thus far.
  • What if I'm not on Facebook? While we know that not everyone has a Facebook account, this is the most accessible platform for our discussion (at least for right now). Fortunately, it's free to sign up. If you wish, you can always create a Facebook account, join the NDWC Shared Read group, and close your account once the discussion is over. 

I'm interested! What's next?

Email NDWC Shared Read Coordinator Susan Krenn ’04 at susannah@alumni.nd.edu. She'll ask you to pick a particular day of the week for your Facebook posts, e.g., every Tuesday during the 6-week event. She’ll also send you some sample posts so you have a better sense of what sort of content to contribute.

Thanks for considering & we look forward to reading with you! Don’t forget to join the Shared Read Facebook group to follow along and share your thoughts with other ND women.

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