The Lasallians Without Borders Committee (LWOB) has announced that Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson will be the District of San Francisco New Orleans’ (SFNO) “One Book, One District” selection for 2017-2018. The announcement was made by LWOB Project Manager Alma Mejia-Garcia, SFNO Office of Education-Mont La Salle Director Mike Daniels, and SFNO Young Lasallians Director Kenenna Amuzie.
Just Mercy is the true story of a young lawyer who founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice serving the poor, as well as those who have fallen victim to inequities within the U.S. criminal justice system. In his award-winning book, author Stevenson recalls his journey representing a man wrongly accused of murder, and his efforts to bring attention to a “broken system of justice.”
According to LWOB, its choice of Just Mercy was inspired in part by Pope Francis’ 2016 visit to Mexico. After visiting with a group of incarcerated women and men, the Pope recalled that that “Jesus’ concern for the care of the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless and prisoners (cf. Mt 25:34-40) sought to express the core of the Father’s mercy.” He then wrote of “the pressing journey that we must undertake in order to break the cycle of violence and crime.” Just Mercy speaks to these issues in a way that made it a suitable and appealing choice for “One Book, One District.”
In addition, this year’s selection coincides with the theme for this summer’s 2017 Lasallian Youth Assembly in New Orleans, LA: “I was in prison and you visited me…Mercy without borders.” Assembly participants will learn about the social justice concerns facing those who have been incarcerated, and will be invited through education and advocacy training to respond as people of faith and, in a special way, as Young Lasallians
The “One Book, One District” initiative is in its second year, having begun in 2016-2017 with the book, Enrique’s Journey, by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Sonia Nazario. Its goal is to invite SFNO schools to participate in a District-wide activity in which students and adults can learn about and consider timely social justice issues through contemporary literature.
All SFNO ministries are encouraged to participate in “One Book, One District” in whichever way works best for their school community. Curriculum resources will be made available by LWOB by the end of May, 2017.