Seton Hall University

Inside the Core: Co-Sponsored Panel on “Achieving Just Mercy”  

The University Core joins with the MLK Leadership Program and the Law School to sponsor "Achieving Just Mercy," in connection with our SHU-Reads selection for the second year, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. The event will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 4 p.m in Duffy Hall, room 60. A panel of experts will explore some of the themes in Just Mercy: unjust sentencing, particularly of under-age convicts; the potential to turn one's life around; and the importance of mercy.

Our panel will consist of attorney Joe Russo, First Assistant Public Defender of New Jersey's Office of the Public Defender, who works on many lifer cases and is the co-chair of the OPD Parole Project, and Damon Venable, who was tried and convicted as an adult for a crime he committed at the age of 16; while challenging his sentence of life imprisonment, Mr. Venable was released on parole after serving more than three decades in prison and is now working as a paralegal for the Office of the Public Defender.

Photo of Joseph Russo

Joe Russo

Moderating the discussion will be Prof. Jenny-Brooke Condon, Professor of Law, who teaches Constitutional Law and directs the Equal Justice Clinic at Seton Hall's Law School. Respondents will be Dr. Elizabeth Redwine, Coordinator of Core I: Journey of Transformation and Lecturer in the English Department and Sister/Dr. Mary John Bosco Amakwe, adjunct faculty member in the University Core, who will discuss how important the text Just Mercy is when used in the classroom in Core I and II.

Rev. Forrest Pritchett, Senior Adviser to Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program Director; the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Program, and the Gospel Choir, will offer introductory and closing remarks.

Rev. Pritchett mentions the scriptural verse from Micah 8 in connection with the event:

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Photo of Damon Venable

Damon Venable

He goes on to say, "The work of justice for all, an 18th century paradigm, continues as a challenge into the 21st century. Institutions of higher learning have a unique role, that in addition to the learning that occurs, we must as the prophet Micah admonishes us, motivate all to act, to love and to walk."

Dr. Elizabeth Redwine, discussing the text Just Mercy, says, "In my second year teaching Just Mercy in our first year Core class at Seton Hall, Journey of Transformation, I am inspired by the discussions and writing that Bryan Stevenson's work brings forth from first year students. My students and I are looking forward to learning about how justice initiatives contribute to communities and individuals' lives firsthand. I am grateful to the other panelists for sharing their experiences with us and look forward to learning more at an event that promises to teach us about how the concerns of Just Mercy affect those incarcerated in New Jersey."

Click here to view the recording on YouTube.

Categories: Arts and Culture, Law