Skip to content Skip to navigation

Race and the Criminal Justice System

Jan 13 2016
JANUARY 13, 2016 - 7:00PM
Bryan Stevenson, acclaimed public interest lawyer and founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, will deliver the 2016 Anne and Loren Kieve Distinguished Speaker Lecture at a joint event sponsored by the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE) and OpenXChange on Wednesday, Jan. 13, in Cemex Auditorium. The Anne and Loren Kieve Distinguished Speaker Fund annually brings leading scholars, public intellectuals, and artists to address the Stanford community on vital issues relating to race and ethnicity.
Stevenson, author of the New York Times best-seller “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption,” will discuss his life and work.
A roundtable conversation, titled "Just Mercy: Race and the Criminal Justice System," will follow Stevenson’s address and include Stanford Associate Professor of Psychology Jennifer Eberhardt, Professor of Political Science Gary Segura, and Professor of Law Robert Weisberg. Award-winning journalist and Yahoo! Global Anchor Katie Couric will moderate the discussion. 
The event is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow. Stevenson's book will be available for purchase at the event. Please RSVP here.

Participant Bios

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama.  Stevenson is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned. Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill and aiding children prosecuted as adults. Stevenson has successfully argued several cases in the United States Supreme Court and recently won an historic ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court banning mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger are unconstitutional. EJI has also initiated major new anti-poverty and anti-discrimination efforts challenging the legacy of racial inequality in America. Mr. Stevenson’s work fighting poverty and challenging racial discrimination in the criminal justice system has won him numerous awards including the ABA Wisdom Award for Public Service, the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Award Prize, the Olaf Palme International Prize, the ACLU National Medal Of Liberty, the National Public Interest Lawyer of the Year Award, the Gruber Prize for International Justice and the Ford Foundation Visionaries Award. He is a graduate of the Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Government, has been awarded 21 honorary doctorate degrees and is also a Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law. He is the recent author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Just Mercy, which was named by Time Magazine as one of the 10 best books of nonfiction for 2014 and has been awarded several honors including the Carnegie Medal by the American Library Association for the best nonfiction book of 2014 and a 2015 NAACP Image Award.


Katie Couric is the Global Anchor for Yahoo News, award winning journalist and TV personality, well-known cancer advocate and New York Times best-selling author. In November 2013, Couric joined Yahoo as Global Anchor, where she helps develop Yahoo News’ coverage, report on live events, and anchor groundbreaking interviews with major newsmakers. Couric is an executive producer and narrator of Fed Up, a documentary about the alarming spread of childhood obesity, which will be released in spring 2014. In September 2006, Couric joined CBSNews and became the first female solo anchor of an evening news broadcast after a 15-year run as co-anchor of NBC’s Today Show. Couric is a co-founder of Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), co-founder of the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (NCCRA) with the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) and Lilly Tartikoff, and co-founder of the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health. Born in Arlington, Virginia, Katie graduated with honors from the University of Virginia in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in English and a focus on American Studies. She lives in New York with her husband, John Molner.


Jennifer Eberhardt, a 2014 MacArthur Fellow, is a Stanford University social psychologist who investigates the consequences of the psychological association between race and crime. Through interdisciplinary collaborations and a wide ranging array of methods — from laboratory studies to novel field experiments — Eberhardt has revealed the startling, and often dispiriting, extent to which racial imagery and judgments suffuse our culture and society, and in particular shape actions and outcomes within the domain of criminal justice. Eberhardt received a B.A. (1987) from the University of Cincinnati, and an A.M. (1990) and Ph.D. (1993) from Harvard University. From 1995 to 1998 she taught at Yale University in the Departments of Psychology and African and African American Studies. She joined the Stanford faculty in 1998, and is currently an associate professor in the Department of Psychology and co-director of SPARQ, a university initiative to use social psychological research to address pressing social problems. From 1995 to 1998, she taught at Yale University in the departments of Psychology and African and African American Studies.


Gary Segura is a Professor of American Politics, and Director of the Institute on the Politics of Inequality, Race and Ethnicity (InsPIRES) at Stanford. His work focuses on issues of political representation, and the politics to America’s growing Latino minority. Among his most recent publications are "The Future is Ours: Minority Politics, Political Behavior, and the Multiracial Era of American Politics" (2011, Congressional Quarterly Press), Latinos in the New Millennium: An Almanac of Opinion, Behavior, and Policy Preferences (2012, Cambridge University Press), and Latino Lives in America: Making It Home (2010, Temple University Press). His work has been published in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, and the Annual Review of Political Science, among many others.  Segura was one of three Principal Investigators of the 2012 American National Election Studies, and was one of the Principal Investigators of the Latino National Survey, in 2006.  In 2010, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Robert Weisberg is the Edwin E. Huddleson, Jr. Professor of Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center, which promotes and coordinates research and public policy programs on criminal law and the criminal justice system, including institutional examination of the police and correctional systems. Weisberg works primarily in the field of criminal justice, writing and teaching in the areas of criminal law, criminal procedure, white collar crime, and sentencing policy. After receiving his JD from Stanford Law School in 1979, he served as a law clerk to Chief Judge J. Skelly Wright of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and Justice Potter Stewart of the U.S. Supreme Court. After joining the Stanford law faculty, he served as a consulting attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the California Appellate Project on death penalty cases, and he continues to consult on criminal appeals in the state and federal courts. He is a three-time winner of the law school’s John Bingham Hurlbut Award for Excellence in Teaching. Before entering the field of law, he received his PhD in English at Harvard and was a tenured English professor at Skidmore College. Weinberg is one of the nation’s leading scholars on the intersection of law and literature and co-author of the highly praised book, Literary Criticisms of Law.
The event is cosponsored by Asian American Activities Center, ASSU Exec, Black Community Services Center, Black Student Union, Office of Community Engagement and Diversity, El Centro Chicano y Latino, Diversity & First Gen Office, Graduate Student Council Diversity Advocacy Committee (DAC), Haas Center for Public Service, School of Humanities and Sciences, Stanford Law School, The Markaz: Resource Center, Native American Cultural Center, Department of Political Science, Department of Psychology, Office of Religious Life, Sigma Gamma Rho, Stanford Criminal Justice Center, Stanford Criminal Law Society, Stanford Critical Law Society, Stanford In Government (SIG), Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education (VPGE), Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE), and the Women’s Community Center.
Of special note, OpenXChange and CCSRE would like to express immense gratitude to our corporate co-sponsor KQED for its invaluable outreach efforts on our behalf.