The Right Livelihood Foundation announced yesterday that EJI Director Bryan Stevenson is among four activists honored with the Swedish foundation’s annual award.
Established in 1980 to “honour and support courageous people solving global problems,” the Right Livelihood Award has become widely known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize.’ There are now 182 Laureates from 72 countries.
The Right Livelihood Foundation cited Mr. Stevenson for “his inspiring endeavor to reform the U.S. criminal justice system and advance racial reconciliation in the face of historic trauma.”
The award recognizes EJI’s work challenging the historical legacy of institutional racism in the U.S.
“Stevenson’s work is rooted in the realisation that society and the justice system are plagued by systemic racism due to the unresolved history of slavery and white supremacy in the US,” the foundation said. “This is also manifested by the U.S. having the highest rate of incarceration in the world, disproportionately affecting people of colour and the poor.”
EJI’s work documenting America’s history of racial injustice and urging communities to truthfully confront the legacy of our history “is paving the way for the structural changes needed for societal healing from the country’s long and violent history of racial injustice,” the foundation observed.
Mr. Stevenson said it is a great honor to receive this award. “We are in the midst of pushing racial justice projects that cause our nation to deal more honestly with the history of racial injustice and racial inequality,” he said in a release, “so this support will help us advance that work.”
The 2020 Laureates include imprisoned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh for her activism to promote political freedoms and human rights in Iran; indigenous rights and environmental activist Lottie Cunningham Wren of Nicaragua for her dedication to protecting indigenous lands and communities; and human rights activist Ales Bialiatski for his democracy and human rights work in Belarus.