AUBURN, Ala. — As part of Auburn University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week, Bryan Stevenson, of the Equal Justice Initiative, delivered a lecture Tuesday, January 23, at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center.

Along with being the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, Stevenson is a lawyer dedicated to anti-poverty and anti-discrimination projects.

“The narrative has to change if we want to be free,” said Stevenson. “And because we’ve been practicing silence for so long, it can seem hard and scary to begin this conversation about how we overcome the history of racial inequality, but I am persuaded that it is absolutely necessary and, on the other side of it, I actually think something wondrous is waiting for us.”

Stevenson’s speech conveyed a strong message of hope while encouraging the audience to get uncomfortable in order to prevent narratives of racial inequality. 

The event concluded with Stevenson answering questions from audience members and signing copies of his book “Just Mercy.”

President and CEO of Children’s of America, Mike Warren, was also recognized at the event with the Unsung Hero Award presented by the Office of Inclusion and Diversity.

Stevenson’s speech was a part of the Critical Conversations Speaker Series presented by the Office of the Provost and Office of Inclusion and Diversity.