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MAR 29 Brittany K. Barnett

A coming-of-age story and a powerful evocation of what it takes to bring hope and justice to a system built to resist both at every turn.

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About the Event

Brittany K. Barnett

Brittany K. Barnett is an attorney, author and entrepreneur. Her memoir, A Knock at Midnight, was published by The Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, on September 8, 2020.

While working several years as a corporate attorney, Brittany was committed to pro bono representation of clients buried alive in federal prison under draconian drug laws. Her dedication to this life changing work paid off tremendously, resulting in freedom for numerous people serving fundamental death sentences for federal drug offenses, including seven clients who received executive clemency from President Barack Obama.

As the daughter of a formerly incarcerated mother, Brittany knows first-hand the impact of mass incarceration is far reaching, devastating families and entire communities. Dedicated to transforming the criminal justice system, Brittany founded two nonprofits to carry out her life’s work: the Buried Alive Project, which works to dismantle life without parole sentences handed down under federal drug laws and Girls Embracing Mothers, dedicated to empowering girls with mothers in prison.

Through her criminal justice work, Brittany has encountered some of the most brilliant minds humanity has to offer. Her work is multi-dimensional. She not only frees people from prison, she uses her extensive corporate experience to cultivate their creative and entrepreneurial powers to better the world. Brittany is the founder of XVI Capital Partners and Milena Reign, social enterprises devoted to shifting the paradigm to show the world changing impact that formerly incarcerated people can have when they have access to resources not to merely survive, but to thrive.

She is a graduate of SMU’s Dedman School of Law. She previously served as the Associate General Counsel at ORIX USA Corporation focusing on mergers & acquisitions and general corporate matters. Prior to her legal career, Brittany earned her license as a Certified Public Accountant and worked for international accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Accounting.

Brittany’s life-saving work has been featured nationally on multiple news platforms, including television and print. She has earned many honors, including being named one of America’s most Outstanding Young Lawyers by the American Bar Association.

A Knock At Midnight

A Knock at Midnight is Brittany’s riveting, inspirational memoir, at once a coming-of-age story and a powerful evocation of what it takes to bring hope and justice to a system built to resist both at every turn. Brittany's book was published by The Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House.

​Brittany K. Barnett was only a law student when she came across the case that would change her life forever—that of Sharanda Jones, single mother, business owner and, like Brittany, black daughter of the rural South. A victim of America’s ruthless and devastating war on drugs, Sharanda had been torn from the arms of her young daughter and was serving a life sentence without parole—all for a first-time drug offense. In Sharanda, Brittany saw haunting echoes of her own life, as the daughter of a formerly incarcerated mother.  As she studied Sharanda’s case, a system slowly came into focus: one where racial injustice forms the core of our country’s addiction to incarceration. Moved by Sharanda’s plight, Brittany began to work towards her freedom.

This had never been the plan. Bright and ambitious, Brittany was a successful accountant on her way to a high-powered future in corporate law. But Sharanda’s case opened the door to a harrowing journey through the criminal justice system. By day Brittany moved billion-dollar deals, and by night she worked pro bono to free clients in nearly hopeless legal battles. Ultimately, her path transformed her understanding of injustice in the courts, of genius languishing behind bars, and the very definition of freedom.

Moderator Andi Mazingo

Andrea (Andi) Mazingo is an Orrick Racial, Social & Economic Justice Fellow at A New Way of Life, where she is helping to form and lead the organization's family reunification practice to help incarcerated and previously incarcerated parents get their children back.  Andi also serves on the American Bar Association's Criminal Litigation Committee as a Newsletter Editor and is looking to connect with thought leaders interested in sharing their knowledge to advance the practice area.

HND Disclaimer and Value Statement

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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