Just Mercy Is Available to Rent for Free During the Month of June

Isabel Jones

I first saw Just Mercy in a packed theater in Toronto, where audible sniffles were the norm. It’s one of the most affecting movies I’ve ever seen, and this month it’s available to rent for free.

The 2019 film, which is based on the work of civil-rights lawyer and Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson and stars Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx, is available to rent for free across digital platforms in the U.S. all month long.

“We believe in the power of story,” Warner Bros. began in a statement, calling the movie “one resource we can humbly offer to those who are interested in learning more about the systemic racism that plagues our society.”

“To actively be part of the change our country is so desperately seeking, we encourage you to learn more about our past and the countless injustices that have led us to where we are today,” the statement continued, directing readers to learn more about the Equal Justice Initiative at EJI.org.

The powerful film follows Stevenson (Jordan) in his efforts to free Walter McMillian (Foxx), a man wrongfully convicted of murdering a white woman in 1988 and sentenced to death, despite the many accounts from Black witnesses who confirmed he was at a fish fry when the murder took place.

Stevenson, in a recent interview with The New Yorker, shared his thoughts on the protests against police brutality motivated by the murder of George Floyd. "Slavery didn’t end in 1865, it evolved,” he told the publication. “The great evil of American slavery wasn’t the involuntary servitude; it was the fiction that black people aren’t as good as white people, and aren’t the equals of white people, and are less evolved, less human, less capable, less worthy, less deserving than white people.”

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Speaking to the heart of the issue, Stevenson said, “I have a lot of honorary degrees and went to Harvard. And I still go places where I am presumed dangerous. I have been told to leave courtrooms because the presumption was that I was the defendant and not the lawyer. I have been pulled out of my car by police who pointed a gun on me. And I can just tell you that when you have to navigate this presumption of guilt, day in and day out, and when the burden is on you to make the people around you see you as fully human and equal, you get exhausted. You are tired. And I would argue that the black people in the streets are expressing their fatigue, their anger, and their frustration at having to live this menaced life in America.”

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