Today in Kansas City, Missouri, the NAACP awarded EJI Director Bryan Stevenson the William Robert Ming Award for Advocacy at the opening plenary session of its 101st National Convention.
The award is one of the NAACP’s highest honors for professionals in the legal field and was presented to Mr. Stevenson for the work of the Equal Justice Initiative, which this year has issued a major report documenting illegal racial discrimination in jury selection, led a successful effort in the United States Supreme Court to abolish life imprisonment without parole sentences imposed on juveniles, provided critical legal assistance to condemned prisoners on death row and prisoners wrongly convicted or illegally sentenced, and aided many others facing unfair and unjust treatment in the criminal justice system.
The presentation of the award by Judge Laura Blackburn followed remarks by Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, actor Blair Underwood, and NAACP national leaders. Following Mr. Stevenson’s remarks, First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the convention to discuss the health needs of children.
Mr. Stevenson was nominated by the Tuskeegee Branch of the NAACP in Tuskeegee, Alabama. Tuskeegee NAACP members were present with EJI Board Chairman Jerome Gray at the convention along with thousands of NAACP members, supporters, and leaders from across the nation.