Alumnus Bryan Stevenson ('81) named to Presidential Task Force

St. Davids, PA, January 20, 2015 - Esteemed Eastern University alumnus, attorney Bryan Stevenson (Eastern ’81), was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as a member on the newly established Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The eleven member task force is co-chaired by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, and Laurie Robinson, Professor of Criminology, Law and Society at George Mason University and will have representatives from law enforcement, community organizations, and academics.

The task force will focus on methods to build trust and strengthen relationships between local law enforcement and the communities they serve, as well as effective crime reduction. When asked to comment on his appointment Mr. Stevenson remarked “I'm very honored that President Obama has asked me to serve on his policing task force at this critical moment in America when many people feel at risk and poorly served by our criminal justice system.  I am hopeful we can improve the quality of police and community relations in many places where there is growing distrust.  I'm also hopeful that we can protect public safety without unfairly presuming the guilt of people based on race or ethnicity.”

Recent events across the country regarding policing and law enforcement emphasize the critical nature and timeliness of this task force.
Eastern University Executive Dean Debra Heath-Thornton said “A task force that will comprise representatives from law enforcement, community organizations, and academics and will focus on restorative methods to build trust and strengthen relationships between local law enforcement and the communities in which they serve, can only be enhanced by a member the caliber of Bryan Stevenson.”

Stevenson is the Founder and Executive Director of The Equal Justice Initiative, which, through its focus on social justice and human rights, exposes the biases under which capital punishment is imposed. In addition to his work with poor and oppressed communities, he is a Professor at New York University School of Law. Mr. Stevenson has won numerous awards, including the Kirkus Prize for his recent book, Just Mercy, and the “Genius” Award from the MacArthur Foundation. He has also made recent appearances on popular political talk shows such as the Colbert Report and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Eastern University is a Philadelphia Christian university of the arts and sciences located in the western suburbs of Philadelphia at 1300 Eagle Road in St. Davids, PA. Eastern enrolls approximately 4,300 students in its undergraduate, graduate, professional, urban, Seminary and international programs. Its core values of faith, reason and justice are woven into all of its educational programs. For more information visit or contact Denise McMillan, Communications Director, 610-341-4365,

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