50 Ways Presenting ‘Just Mercy’ At Drive-In

Free Showing Next Tuesday

Fifty Ways Rockbridge is inviting the community to a free showing of the multiple award-winning film “Just Mercy” on Tuesday, June 30, at Hull’s Drive-In.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the number of cars allowed at the drive-in will be limited. Tickets are free of charge, but must be claimed ahead of time at hullsdrivein.com.

“Just Mercy” depicts the life and work of Bryan Stevenson, who, as a young attorney in the 1980s founded the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Ala. The movie focuses on the case of Walter McMillian, an African-American man convicted of killing a white woman in 1986. The prosecution’s case hinged on the perjured testimony of a convicted felon, coerced into cooperating to avoid being executed by electric chair. At the time, Alabama was the only state that did not provide legal assistance to people on death row and had the highest per-capita rate of death penalty convictions.

Starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx, “Just Mercy” has won best-actor and outstanding film awards from the African-American Film Critics Association and the NAACP Image Awards. The movie is based on Stevenson’s book of the same title, which was named one of the 10 best books of 2014 by Time magazine.

In the years since its founding, Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative has achieved major victories in challenging abuse of the incarcerated and mentally ill inmates and eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing. Stevenson’s organization has won cases for over 125 wrongly condemned prisoners on death row, and he successfully argued a case before the U.S. Supreme Court resulting in the banishment of life-without-parole sentences for persons under age 18.

Stevenson came to Lexington in May 2019 to deliver the commencement speech at Washington and Lee’s law school graduation. As a report on the school’s website noted, “During his talk, Stevenson asked the graduates to get ‘proximate’ with the poor, the neglected, and the suffering in order to understand what justice requires. He urged them to help rewrite the narratives of fear and anger that undermine the rule of law and allow us to see some people as less than human. He told them to remain hopeful because ‘hopelessness is the enemy of justice.’ And he cautioned them that this path requires us to ‘do the uncomfortable things that advance justice.’”

Following state health guidelines, Hull’s Drive In requires the advance sale of tickets to all shows, and capacity has been reduced to 160 cars. Concessions will not be available but attendees can bring their own popcorn. Movies are shown rain or shine.

A spokeswoman said 50 Ways Rockbridge is proud to support this free showing and encourages donations to the Rockbridge Chapter of NAACP at rockbridgenaacp.com.

Fifty Ways Rockbridge, founded in 2016, is a community organization dedicated to researching, educating, and acting on major issues that affect all 50 states, especially Virginia and our local area. More information can be found at 50waysrockbridge.org.

The News-Gazette

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