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The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina is very proud to announce that Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit organization that provides legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal system, will be the keynote speaker at the 45th Annual Frank Porter Graham Awards Ceremony in Chapel Hill on February 15, 2014.

“We have a system of justice in [the U.S.] that treats you much better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent,” Bryan Stevenson explains in his online TED Talk that has been viewed more than 1.3 million times. “Wealth, not culpability, shapes outcomes.”

Stevenson has been representing capital defendants and death row prisoners in the Deep South since 1985 when he was a staff attorney with the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta and has since won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color in the criminal justice system.