Increasing Awareness of Justice Issues

Even though I’ve always been someone who is aware of justice issues, I’ve become much more intentional and aware in the past couple years. Since I rarely just jump into anything, I started this journey by reading more books, articles, and experts in the field of justice work. I wanted to share a few of my favorite resources with you to help on this path of becoming more aware.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
This book is cited again and again as a life-changing resource, and for good reason. I think most people have some sort of vague idea that our prisons are overcrowded, that we need reform, and that the inmate population is racially skewed. But why? How did we get here? What are the actual statistics?

Bryan Stevenson is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama. He has spent his career providing legal services to those who cannot afford quality lawyers, specifically for inmates on death row.

Just Mercy is an important book, and I’d highly recommend reading it. But I’d also recommend following the Equal Justice Initiative for a view of statistics and cases of racial injustice happening today.

Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour
There are a couple books that helped shape my perspective on the complexity of the Israel-Palestine conflict but as a Christian, Blood Brothers was most significant. Elias Chacour is a Palestinian Christian from Nazareth. His family has been Christ-followers since, well… Jesus was their neighbor.

Chacour became Archbishop of the Galilee region and spent his life working toward conversation and peace between Israeli and Palestinian neighbors. His book was an eye-opening memoir about the layers and layers of conflict in this region. There is no easy answer toward peace, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth working toward.

On My Nightstand…
There are so many books and so little time… I wanted to share three books that are on my to-read pile, in case one looks like a good fit for you.

Mending the Divides by Jon Huckins and Jer Swigart
Written by the founders of the Global Immersion Project, this book looks at peacemaking in a world where conflict, hate, and injustice thrive. What do we do next?

The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James H. Cone
This book comes highly recommended. Written by theologian James Cone, it looks at two powerful and charged symbols of American Black history.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Legal scholar Michelle Alexandar looks at the incarceration rates of African American men and argues that the prison system as it runs today is the contemporary replacement of the Jim Crow laws of the 1960’s.

What books and resources have impacted your journey toward a better understanding of justice? Have you read any of these?

BackyardThis post is Day 14 of the Write 31 Days Challenge. I’m spending the month of October writing about the Backyard Justice. You can find the entire series over at my Backyard Justice page.

6 thoughts on “Increasing Awareness of Justice Issues

  1. One of my extremely justice minded friends also recommended The Cross and the Lynching Tree. I need to add it to me to read list!

  2. Okay,

    Loved Just Mercy!

    The Warmth of Other Suns – Isabel Wilkerson – opened my eyes to many of the why’s I had always asked myself, not being from the south. It was a paradigm shift for me.

    Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets – By Svetlana Alexievich – An amazing read that gave me new perspective of USSR, the fall of Communism and how it was for the people, in there words. really help shape an understanding beyond what we were taught in school during the cold war.

    Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism – by Carl Medearis – Loved his point of view on working with Muslums and Christians as he said and in the line notes, “While others are explaining and defending various isms and ologies we’re simply pointing people to our friend. The one who uncovers and disarms. Who leads people right to himself. The beginning and the end of the story. A good story indeed.” A way to move beyond tribalsm – Us and Them.

    Thanks for the Recommendations, they all sound great – I will have to check out Blood Brothers.

    Be well,

    Guy

  3. Pursuing Hope 😉 and Pursuing Justice, lots of Noam Chomsky, the entire collected works of Toni Morrison..oh my morning brain. I’m guessing the Bible counts.

    1. Ooh, I remember reading “Pursuing Justice…” Will have to flip through it again. I suppose the Bible counts… 😉 But I’ll admit, sometimes it doesn’t feel hopeful. And I need to remember that God really is a God of hope.

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