Book in Common

An audience member stands to ask a question during a previous Book in Common event at TWU.
Book in Common
2020-21 Book in Common selection

"Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption" by Bryan Stevenson

A Call to Action: Seeking social justice by becoming change agents in our communities.

A book cover of Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

About "Just Mercy"

A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time.

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

"Just Mercy" is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

Just Mercy Essay Contest

Campus theme: A Call to Action: Seeking Social Justice by Becoming Change Agents in Our Communities

Prompt: With the campus theme in mind, what calls you to act? How are you an agent of change in your community and/or the world? Please respond to the following prompt with an essay of no more than 1000 words.

Essays are due no later than Friday, March 5, 2021.

Winners will be notified via email no later than Tuesday, March 30, 2021.

First and second place prizes will be awarded in the following categories: undergraduate student, graduate student, faculty, and staff. Winners will receive the following:

  1. TWU Bookstore gift certificate ($100 for first place & $50 for second place).
  2. PCSE Swag bag including a copy of Just Mercy
  3. Be interviewed for Pioneer Center for Student Excellence's podcast called, Answering the Call: Exploring Scholar-Activism at TWU and Beyond. You can listen to an episode here:

To enter the essay contest, complete the form and upload your essay using the appropriate submission link below:

If you have questions, please email Dr. Lindsay at

Social Justice Cinema

The Pioneer Center for Student Excellence presents a Social Justice Cinema. At your leisure, click on the link of the movie of your choice and enjoy. These movies are available to the entire TWU community. You will need your TWU log-in credentials to access the movie.

More from Bryan Stevenson

Flyer for Richard Miles event. Text of flyer is given on webpage.

Richard Miles: My Experiences of Wrongful Conviction and My Call to Action

Feb.9th 3:00–4:00 p.m.

Richard Miles, President & COE of Miles of Freedom will speak about his experience of being wrongfully convicted in 1194.

Richard served 15 years of a 60 year sentence before his release in 2009 and exoneration in 2012. Richard will also discuss his experiences with reentry and reintegration, his life now, and the organization he started in 2012.

This program will occur via webinar on Zoom.

Must register to attend. Space is limited.
Session will not be recorded.

For more information, contact Dr. Theresa Lindsay at

Flyer for Nutrition and Wellness in the Black Community event. Text of flyer is given on webpage.

A Call to Action: Nutrition & Wellness in the Black Community

Feb. 18, 2021 6:00 p.m.

Nutrition is thought to be all about what you eat and drink. For the Black community, nutrition encompasses much more than that! Between weight stigma within the community, discrimination in the health system and health research, and the pervasiveness of diet culture, Black people are left with worse health outcomes.

During this seminar, Esosa Osagiede will debunk myths and provide relevant information to help Black people understand the whole picture of nutrition and define health on their own terms!

This event will take place on Zoom.

Must register to attend. Space is limited.
Session will not be recorded.

For more information, contact Dr. Tracy Lindsay at

@TWUPioneerCtr tweets

Join us on Twitter for live tweets of our Book in Common events and use the #TWUCallToAction to discuss becoming a force for change with us.


Answering the Call Podcast: Exploring Scholar Activism at TWU (and Beyond)

Answering the Call sits down for virtual dialogues with TWU faculty, staff, and students who engage in scholar-activism at work and in their communities. We’ll learn about their definitions and experiences of scholar-activism, as well as gather key wisdom for how to get involved in work at the intersections of education and activism/advocacy. Oh, and we'll chat about how to take care of ourselves in the process.

About Book in Common

The Book-in-Common program is a university-wide initiative developed to foster a learning environment focused on the success of students to live, work and lead in a diverse and complex world.

Book-in-Common promotes an awareness and appreciation for the richness that is brought by embracing all forms of diversity and multicultural perspectives. In addition, it supports University initiatives such as curricular and co-curricular efforts in Global Connections, Wellness Connections, and Business Connections.

Common Reading Programs

  • Intellectually engage students on a variety of social issues and diverse perspectives related to values and ethics
  • Foster a sense of intellectual community throughout the university
  • Engage students in interdisciplinary dialogue outside of the classroom
  • Provide opportunities for increased interaction among students, faculty, staff and alumni

Teaching Resources

Follow along with TWU's Book in Common in your classroom with these guides:

Past TWU Book in Common Books

  • 2018 - 2020: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • 2016 – 2018: My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
  • 2014 – 2016: This I Believe II by Jay Allison

Contact Us

Dr. Theresa Lindsay
Director, Learning Success Programs
Pioneer Center for Student Excellence
BHL 226
(940) 898-4113

For additional faculty resources:

Dr. Jörg Waltje
Executive Director, Center for Faculty Excellence
SH 302
(940) 898-3426