It’s week five of our Eight Week Donation Pledge. Each week, one of our employees selects an organization fighting for racial justice and equity to donate to. This week we are donating $1,500.00 to the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI).
The United States incarcerates its citizens more than any other country. The U.S. has 5% of the world’s population but nearly 25% of its incarcerated population. Mass incarceration disproportionately impacts the poor and people of color and does not make us safer. EJI is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
Founded in 1989, EJI is a non-profit law organization that provides legal services to the poor, incarcerated and condemned. EJI's work includes litigation, advocacy and education. Their criminal justice reform initiatives include challenging the death penalty, children in adult prisons, wrongful convictions, excessive punishment and prison conditions. EJI has won major legal reforms and secured relief, release, or reduced sentences for over 140 condemned people on death row. EJI’s advocacy and litigation to ban mandatory life-imprisonment-without-parole sentences for children resulted in landmark rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court that have impacted thousands of cases.
In addition to this work, EJI also opened The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in 2018. The memorial is the first in the U.S. to be dedicated to the legacy of enslaved Black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence.
The information above was compiled from the EJI website.
“We can create a more just society but it doesn’t happen by itself. It is not inevitable.”
- Bryan Stevenson, Founder and Executive Director of EJI
EJI was founded by the widely acclaimed public interest lawyer Bryan Stevenson. He is the author of Just Mercy, a memoir that follows one of Stevenson’s first cases, the case of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn't commit. A film based on the book came out last year and is available to stream.
Read & Watch:
Just Mercy (Film)
Learn about the other causes and organizations we have donated to in our previous Eight Weeks of Giving blog posts: