In Memoriam

A Lawyer and Seeker of Justice
Stephanie L. Robinson ’87, ’88 AM

April 23rd, 2023
Image of Stephanie Lyn Robinson

Stephanie L. Robinson ’87, ’88 AM, of  McLean, Va.; Aug. 10, of cancer. She was a human rights attorney. While at Brown, she was a member of the Chattertocks and involved in theater, so successfully that she and  her colleagues in the Brown production of The Colored Museum were winners of the American College Theater Festival/John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts National Award in April 1988. She studied abroad in Brazil during her time at Brown and in her senior year was among a group of students involved in a protest advocating divestment from South African corporations supporting apartheid. Following the protest, the dean of student life presented a piece of paper to the protesters and asked those who wished to take responsibility for their actions to sign—Stephanie did, at the possibility of risking expulsion when she was four months away from graduation. Not only did the Board decline to expel the students, but each of the 20 students received a Human Rights Award from Rhode Island State Representative Ray Rickman for supporting divestment and human rights in South Africa. She pursued a law degree  at Case Western University and while in law school was articles editor for the Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law and secretary of the Case Western Reserve Student Bar Association. She served as a congressional intern for The Honorable John F. Seiberling, 14th District, Ohio. She began her career as an immigration lawyer and later worked for the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights. She was employed by the U.S. Department of State, where she served in many capacities over a 10-year period. As a State Department abductions officer, she worked with a team that returned nearly 50 children abducted to Mexico to their custodial parents. As a Haiti desk officer during the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, she received a U.S. Department of State Meritorious Honor Award in recognition of outstanding response to the earthquake, and during her period with the U.S. Department of State, she received a number of additional awards and spearheaded the first gender and human rights portfolio in the Office of Caribbean Affairs. During her career, she lived in Buenos Aires; Argentina; and Kampala, Uganda, where she worked for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to improve circumstances for refugees from around the world. Recently, she completed a fellowship in global journalism at the University of Toronto and assisted in the provision of quality legal representation for children involved in human trafficking and asylum cases. She had a lifelong love of music and movies of all kinds and laughed often. She was the caregiver for her parents before their passing and was an advocate for her disabled sister. She is survived by two sisters, two nieces, and many cousins and friends.

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April–May 2023