Bryan Stevenson is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer and with the help of his staff, helped more than 135 wrongly convicted prisoners on death row. One such case involving Walter McMillian, a Monroeville Ala., man, received nationwide attention and has been brought to life in the new film Just Mercy.
Michael B. Jordan portrays Stevenson and Jamie Foxx portrays McMillian. In 1987, McMillian was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the main testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie.
In today’s society, the stories of injustice in the Black community are still ongoing, leaving us filled with many emotions and wondering how we can help make a change. During an interview with theGrio, Jordan and Foxx encouraged everyone to take action in any way that they can. No task is too big or too small.
“I think with these bigger issues, people feel like it’s so big of an issue that we can’t do anything to be a part of the change.”
“One of the things that we’re setting up or that is that that’s already in place, going to EJI.org (Brian Stevenson’s organization),” says Jordan. “There’s a list of actual things that you can do. I think voting in the simplest form, exercising their right to vote is extremely important, especially this being an election year. Reading up on policies and what judges are being voted in [and] where what policies are being put in place, what directly affects your environment, your situation and doing something about it.”
“The bigger the biggest thing in the world is to change the perception of something,” Foxx adds.
“We need Michael B, Jordan to continue doing movies like this, because when you see the biggest star in the world paying attention to what we’re going through, that means everything. It’s hard to get someone to connect on something unless they see somebody that they admire and that they love doing it.”
“And so when Michael B Jordan says Fruitvale Station, when Michael B, Jordan says Black Panther, Just Mercy, that’s what’s gonna make us paying attention. The perception is that the Black man did it, and that’s a hard thing to say. It’s a hard thing to wrap your head around. It’s down deep, but every amount of energy that we put into this artistically, where you’re able to entertain and at the same time educate, it goes a long way.”