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A discussion with Gamechanger Robin Steinberg

"The Courage of Compassion" book.
How would you like to be judged for the rest of your life by the worst thing you’ve ever done?

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Time & Location







About the Event

About this event:

Tuesday, Nov. 14, 7-8 pm CT

Online via Zoom

We all think we are compassionate just like we all think we are honest.  But true compassion is not innate. Compassion for others, especially those that we don’t know or understand, must be learned. Our lack of compassion is perhaps most extreme in the exercise of criminal justice, where a person’s entire life, worth, and character are judged through the myopic lens of a single act. But no one, says Robin Steinberg, should be reduced to their worst moment.

From the founder and CEO of The Bail Project, The Courage of Compassion unveils how we can reimagine justice through compassion. Steinberg shares her journey as a public defender, representing people at precisely that time in their lives — their own worst moment. She recounts the heart-wrenching stories of her clients and invites us to interrogate our fears and beliefs about justice and punishment. Lastly, Steinberg reveals moments when she questioned her own capacity for compassion, as well as her ability to fight for better, more humane justice from within a system that is riddled with holes and seemingly interminable problems.

A gritty tale about confronting injustice and challenging ourselves to rediscover our shared humanity, The Courage of Compassion is an invitation to join Steinberg as she explores what it will take to move beyond our current justice paradigm. The criminal justice system reflects a history and power structure, but it also mirrors how we come into society and show up for one another. As she writes, the quest to improve this system will only truly begin “when we can finally see in the faces of those ensnared and imprisoned in our legal system, ourselves. And when we can see our children, in their children.”

Robin Steinberg is the founder and CEO of The Bail Project, a national effort to combat mass incarceration by transforming the pretrial system in the United States. Over a 35-year career as a public defender, Robin represented thousands of low-income people in over-policed neighborhoods and founded three additional high-impact organizations: The Bronx Defenders, The Bronx Freedom Fund, and Still She Rises. Robin has also taught trial advocacy and other courses at Columbia University Law School and UCLA School of Law. Robin is a frequent commentator on criminal justice issues and has contributed opinion pieces to the New York Times, the Marshall Project, and USA Today.


Sister Kathleen Atkinson is a Benedictine Sister from Annunciation Monastery in Bismarck, ND.

She is nationally recognized as an energetic and creative leader in hunger and homelessness education, and has developed service learning experiences for all age groups and led service teams to a variety of foreign and United States locations.

Humanities North Dakota classes and events are funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this {article, book, exhibition, film, program, database, report, Web resource}, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Humanities North Dakota. However, in an increasingly polarized world, we at Humanities North Dakota believe that being open-minded is necessary to thinking critically and rationally. Therefore our programs and classes reflect our own open-mindedness in the inquiry, seeking, and acquiring of scholars to speak at our events and teach classes for our Public University. To that end, we encourage our participants to join us in stepping outside our comfort zones and considering other perspectives and ideas by being open-minded while attending HND events featuring scholars who hold a variety of opinions, some being opposite of our own held beliefs.

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