During the month of March we will have programming and events based around Just Mercy for all ages. Copies of the book are available at the library (regular print, large print, audiobooks, ebooks, kindle, and the young adult version).
Book Discussion Groups
Page Turners – Tuesday 3/1 @ 1pm. No registration required.
Teen Book Group – Monday 3/7 @ 3pm in the teen space.
NPL/COA Book Group – Tuesday 3/15 @ 2pm, Location: Council on Aging. Register here.
Community Reads Book Discussion: Thursday 3/24 @ 7pm. Register here.
True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality Film Screening
Saturday, 3/5 @ 1pm
No registration required.
True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality follows 30 years of EJI’s work on behalf of the poor, the incarcerated, and the condemned. The film won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Social Issue Documentary, and is the winner of the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications’ 26th annual Vision Award and a Peabody Award.
Told primarily in his own words, True Justice shares Bryan Stevenson’s experience with a criminal justice system that “treats you better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent.” The burden of facing this system is explored in candid interviews with associates, close family members, and clients.
This feature documentary focuses on Bryan Stevenson’s life and career—particularly his indictment of the U.S. criminal justice system for its role in codifying modern systemic racism—and tracks the intertwined histories of slavery, lynching, segregation, and mass incarceration. Highlighting watershed moments involving cases and clients, True Justice offers a rare glimpse into the human struggle that is required when the poor and people of color are wrongly condemned or unfairly sentenced, and explores the personal toll it takes.
The film chronicles EJI’s work in Alabama as well as the early influences that drove Bryan Stevenson to become an advocate for the poor and the incarcerated. As a young lawyer in the 1980s, he witnessed firsthand how courts unfairly applied the death penalty based on race and how the Supreme Court ultimately declared that racial bias in the administration of the death penalty was “inevitable.”
Tracing the trajectory of the Court since the 1857 Dred Scott decision, which ruled that African Americans are not citizens, True Justice shows how the Court has long sanctioned inequality, oppression, and violence. Illuminating the power of memory in cultural change, the film instills hope for a brighter American future.
The film also documents the monumental opening of EJI’s Legacy Museum and its National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which is dedicated to the more than 4,400 African American victims of lynching. These sites are part of EJI’s effort to engage the nation in a new era of truth and justice. As part of the campaign, EJI is working with communities to recognize lynching victims by collecting soil from lynching sites and erecting historical markers.
True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality reveals a history that can’t be forgotten in the pursuit of genuine justice.
Parent Circle: Discussing Tough Topics
Saturday, 3/12 @ 1pm (Virtual meeting)
As part of the Norfolk Community Read program, this workshop is designed to help parents learn to discuss social justice issues with their children. The Her Flowers team will lead a broad discussion and also tie in examples from Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy.
Leaning Into Conversations About Race and Racism
Monday, 3/14 @7pm
Participants will be able to talk about race and racism outside of the context of the Civil Rights Movement by discovering new ways to make a safe space to engage in dialogue around ethnicity, culture, race, and cultural proficiency. Participants will also begin to identify and use strategies and mechanisms to respond to microaggressions that occur in an organization.
This program will be led by Jessica Pepple, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Norfolk, Plainville, Wrentham & King Philip Schools.
What Are Jails For: The Story of Mass Incarceration
Saturday, 3/19 @ 1pm (Virtual meeting). Ages 7+.
As part of the Norfolk Community Read, join Wee the People, a Boston-based social justice initiative, for this program designed for kids ages 7+ (grown-ups welcome to watch along).
Heroes and villains, cops and robbers: From a young age, kids absorb and play out a lot of ideas about safety, danger, crime, and punishment. As they grow older, they then absorb a never-ending narrative of Black and Brown criminality. Disrupting these associations in our kids is critical to protecting Black lives and dismantling the racist system of mass incarceration. In this workshop, kids will learn about activists and champions of human rights who have been jailed, and begin to question assumptions about crime, punishment, and justice.
Let’s Discuss: Race & Incarceration
Tuesday, 3/22 @ 5pm
Join us to discuss the topic of Race & Incarceration.
The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Between 1970-2005, the U.S. population grew by 44% while the prison population grew by a staggering 700%. People of color represent over 60% of state prison populations. Multiple studies of these racial disparities identify three recurrent explanations: policies and practices that drive disparity; the role of bias and stereotypes in decision-making; and structural disadvantages in communities of color which are associated with high rates of offending and arrest (Source: https://livingroomconversations.org/topics/race_and_incarceration/)
We will be using the Living Room Conversation format for this meeting. Living Room Conversations are a conversational bridge across issues that divide and separate us. They provide an easy structure for engaging in friendly yet meaningful conversation with those with whom we may not agree. These conversations increase understanding, reveal common ground, and sometimes even allow us to discuss possible solutions. (https://www.livingroomconversations.org/)
Just Mercy Movie Screening
Saturday, 3/26 @ 1pm
Read the book Just Mercy for our Norfolk Community Read program? Now join us to compare the movie to the book!
Equal Justice Initiative
Tuesday, 3/29 @ 7pm (Virtual Meeting)
Founded in 1989 by Bryan Stevenson, the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) provides legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state jails and prisons. EJI challenges the death penalty and excessive punishment, and provides re-entry assistance to formerly incarcerated people. EJI works with communities that have been marginalized by poverty and discouraged by unequal treatment. EJI is also committed to changing the narrative about race in America and promoting a process of truth and reconciliation about our nation’s history of racial injustice.
As part of our Norfolk Community Read series, Alison Mollman will join us virtually to discuss EJI’s history and work on behalf of incarcerated people, as well as their racial history work and the importance of having an honest telling of our nation’s history of racial injustice from enslavement to mass incarceration today.