JUDY WOODRUFF: This afternoon, we launched That Moment When, the PBS NewsHour latest Facebook Watch show, a special video-on-demand section of the social media site, appearing every Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. and hosted by contributor Steve Goldbloom, the creator of our Brief But Spectacular series. This new series tells the behind-the-scenes stories of successful people at a pivotal moment in their lives. In our debut episode, civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares that moment when he decided to value redemption over revenge.
STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Can you describe the moment when you first visited death row and the experience that that left you?
BRYAN STEVENSON, Founder, Equal Justice Initiative: I took a course that required me to spend the month with an organization providing legal services to people on death row. And that's what got me to death row. And I was completely unprepared. But they asked me to explain to somebody that he's not at risk of execution anytime in the next year. That was my task. And I went to Georgia's death row. And I was so nervous and distraught, that when this man walked in, I was a bit overwhelmed. And what I remembered about him is just how burdened with chains he was. He had handcuffs on his wrists. He had a chain around his waist. He had shackles on his ankles. It took them 10 minutes to unchain him. And when they did, he walked over. And I began to apologize. I said: I'm sorry. I'm just a law student. I don't know much about the death penalty. I don't know much about criminal appeals and procedure. I then said: They sent me down here to tell you that you're not at risk of execution anytime in the next year. And I was surprised that, when I said that, the man said: Wait, wait, wait. Say that again. I said: You're not at risk of execution anytime in the next year. And the man said: Wait, wait. Say that again. I said: You're not at risk of execution anytime in the next year. And that's when this man grabbed my hands. And he said: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. He said: You're the first person I have met in the two years I have been on death row who's not a death row prisoner or death row guard. He said: I have been talking to my wife and kids on the phone. But I haven't let them come and visit, because I was afraid they would show up, and I would have an execution date. He said: Now, because of you, I'm going to see my wife and I'm going to see my kids. And I couldn't believe how, even in my ignorance, being proximate to someone, showing up for someone, I couldn't believe the difference that could make in someone's life.
JUDY WOODRUFF: It's worth watching the entire episode.