June 22, 2015 9:37 AM EDT

“I believe that each person is more than the worst thing they’ve ever done,” says Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer and the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative.

Stevenson is one of the country’s leading advocates for justice reform and has argued six cases before the Supreme Court. In 2012, he successfully argued before the Court that giving mandatory life sentences to juveniles was unconstitutional.

“That’s my mission: I really want to get in the heads and hearts of kids and persuade them that they can believe things they haven’t seen, they can do things that maybe others haven’t done before them, that they are more than their worst acts.”

Read Serena Williams on Bryan Stevenson for the 2015 TIME 100.

More Must-Read Stories From TIME

Write to Francesca Trianni at francesca.trianni@time.com.

Read More From TIME
You May Also Like
EDIT POST