You don’t have to be Bill Gates or Al Gore to give a TED talk; you just have a big idea. Actually, let’s capitalize the phrase, let’s call it a Big Idea. Big Ideas can be baskets you use to gather and carry around information and stories that would have otherwise been scattered (see: “Schools kill creativity”). Big Ideas can reify previously inchoate thoughts and assumptions so that now, all of a sudden, you have a clear argument to make at cocktail parties (see: “Time to end the war in Afghanistan”). Big Ideas can even save you a trip to the therapist’s office or, conversely, inspire you to increase your appointments-per-week ratio (see: “Listening to shame”).
Bryan Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative and part of his Big Idea is about kids in prison, and the country that keeps them there until they die (that’s us). America is the only country in the world with kids serving life in prison without parole (LWOP) sentences for crimes they committed as children. And that, Stevenson says, changes our identity as a country. It changes us.
Last week Bryan Stevenson was at the Supreme Court arguing that LWOP sentences for kids are unconstitutional. Tomorrow, Stevenson will be on The Rachel Maddow Show talking about this Big Idea and why he thinks the opposite of poverty isn’t wealth, it’s justice. Watch his TED talk that we’ve posted above and then tune in tomorrow night.