For nearly a decade, Anthony Ray Hinton has had the same conversations with folks he's met since his release in 2015 after serving nearly 30 years on death row for a murder he did not commit.

In his book, "The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row," Hinton discussed his journey toward forgiveness. His decision to offer that grace toward those who were responsible for his incarceration is always difficult for those he encounters to digest.

"In nine years, nobody ever walked up to me and said, 'I would've done the same thing you did,'" Hinton told me. "Everybody walks up and says, 'I couldn't do that.'"

On Thursday, Hinton and I will discuss his book at 6:30 p.m. at Minneapolis Central Library's Pohlad Hall as part of the Mary Ann Key Book Club, named after my great-great-great grandmother. The in-person event is full but you can still join the waitlist queue or register for the Zoom livestream.

On May 16, we'll follow that conversation with a panel discussion on mass incarceration moderated by the Rev. Ja'Nae Bates, the co-director at ISAIAH, and feature three people who've been impacted by the justice system. Moseka Nhya is a staff member at All Square, "a nonprofit social enterprise that channels wealth and power to those impacted by mass incarceration." Kevin Reese is the executive director of Until We Are All Free, a human rights organization for formerly incarcerated individuals. Marvin Haynes was recently exonerated after serving nearly 20 years for a murder at a Minneapolis flower shop in 2004.

Like Haynes, Hinton endured decades of agony despite proclaiming his innocence. Hinton presented evidence on his behalf — including ballistics reports that proved his mother's gun could not have been the murder weapon — but those within the Alabama justice system refused to acknowledge the truth. Bryan Stevenson, an attorney and author of "Just Mercy," got involved and helped Hinton gain his freedom almost a decade ago.

Hinton and I talked about his experience and his book last week ahead of Thursday's discussion.

Q: What did you hope to achieve when you decided to write this book?

A: My goal was to get America to really think about the judicial system. I wanted people to realize that I had been convicted of one of the most heinous crimes you can be convicted of. And I didn't want people to lose sight of the fact that I went and spent 30 years in prison. But I wanted to show people that I wasn't bitter. I wasn't brought up that way. And I think I would hope that I did my mom justice in portraying the type of mother that God blessed me with. And I wanted people to read this book and look back and say, 'Hey, if this man can spend 30 years in a 5-by-7[-foot cell] and come out with no bitterness and there is no hatred, no nothing … then surely I can do better as well.

Q: How did you get to that place where you forgave those who hurt you?

A: All l could do for my first three years was not talk to anybody. All I could do is think in my mind, if only I could escape. I wanted to escape and I wanted to kill those men that got together and did this to me. I didn't want to escape to be on the run. I didn't want to escape to kill them with a gun. I wanted to choke their life out and I wanted them to look up at me. And before they left this world, I wanted my face to be the only face that they saw. I realized in the fourth year, what I thought was keeping me alive — that hatred — was actually killing me, because I'm a man who loved to laugh. I'm a man who loved to see other people laugh. So when I realized that this feeling I had, and this hatred that I had for those men was killing me, I said, 'That's not who I am.' They have taken my life in the world of freedom, but I can't give them my joy. And somehow I've got to get my joy back. And the only way I knew that I could get my joy back is that I had to forgive them.

Q: How did you handle that moment when you realized you would not get a fair shake once you were charged?

A: I knew there's a price to pay in America for being born Black and a male. And then there is a heavy price to pay if you don't have money. I tell people every day, the system treats you better if you're rich and guilty opposed to if you're Black and innocent. I didn't have the money to hire a decent defense. And therefore that same system knew that it could convict me. And that same system is, it wants you to believe that the system is broken. The system is not broken. The system is working exactly the way it was designed to work.