I’m honored to share this special Father’s Day edition of the Mother’s Quest Podcast. This episode features my friend Jeff Steinberg, whose commitment to the lessons of the civil rights movement can shine a light for us now, during another pivotal time in our nation’s history.

Jeff and I first crossed paths when our sons, Ryan and Journey, now 20 years old, became inseparable friends in preschool. While waiting to pick up our kids, I instantly connected with Jeff as I learned about the transformative work he was doing as Executive Director of Sojourn to the Past, also known as the Sojourn Project.

Years before I would create Mother’s Quest, Jeff modeled the power of forging his own purposeful path. After 14 years of teaching A.P. American History, Jeff founded Sojourn to move beyond the limitations of the classroom, delving students into the lessons of the civil rights movement and bringing history to life. 

Through week-long journeys to the South, students visit historic locations, delve into primary source materials, hear from Civil Rights icons, and engage in deep discussions. By stepping out of the classroom, students are immersed in a shared history not covered in our textbooks. They return empowered to drive personal, social, and civic change in their own communities.

Since his first trip in 1999, Jeff has received tremendous recognition for his impact, receiving state and national awards including The Coretta Scott King A.N.G.E.L. (Advancing Nonviolence Through Generations of Exceptional Leadership) Award and the National Arts and Humanities Youth Programs Award. He has led over 19,000 students and community adults on these transformative journeys, shaping their futures in profound ways.

I loved this opportunity to go deep with Jeff into the lessons learned through Sojourn, the belief that ordinary people can do extraordinary things and that we all have a role to play to speak out against injustice. Jeff shares honestly about his own personal grappling with our nation’s history, the principles of nonviolence, and the issues we face today, including the horrors unfolding in Israel and Palestine and the student protests here. While you might not agree with everything he says, I hope the thoughtful perspectives he shares inspires you, as it did me, to say yes to a sojourn trip of your own and to move with authenticity into your own transformational activism. 

Topics Discussed in this Episode

  • How Jeff’s family and particularly his older brother, who played speeches of MLK and Bobby Kennedy while Jeff was growing up, influenced his commitment to social justice. 

  • Jeff’s path from teaching A.P. American History to founding Sojourn to the Past, bringing civil rights history to life through immersive student journeys.

  • The importance of connecting our children, in developmentally appropriate ways, to our nation’s challenges and how Jeff raised his sons to explore their own authentic path to allyship.

  • The impact of the principles of nonviolence on Jeff’s life and how finding his own inner peace is a work in progress. 

  • The work Sojourn is doing to reform policing and the justice system through bringing officers and district attorneys on the trips. 

  • Why shame and guilt are destructive feelings and how to shift to empowerment and responsibility instead. 

  • The lack of knowledge of our shared history and who Jeff believes are our nation’s real founding fathers and mothers. 

  • Jeff’s personal reflections on the horrors unfolding in Israel and Palestine and the responsibility he feels as an American Jew to speak out against the oppression of the Palestinian people. 

  • His respect for student activism and the conversation he recently had with a student protester at one of the university encampments. 

  • The importance of dialogue, reciprocity, and building shared compassion.


About Jeff Steinberg

After 14 years of teaching Advanced Placement U.S. History, “Mr. Steinberg” founded Sojourn to the Past out of a passion for exploring civil rights and the desire to provide a transformational and experiential educational experience for his students. He has designed rigorous, relevant, and standards-based curriculum filled with rich primary source documents, in the hopes that students will benefit from exploring systemic injustices of the past as a means to better understand and address our current challenges. Mr. Steinberg has led over eight thousand students through Sojourn’s living history lesson, along the path of the Civil Rights Movement, through five states in the Southern United States. Additionally, he makes hundreds of interactive presentations annually across the country on the lessons of the Civil Rights Movement. For his efforts, Mr. Steinberg and the organization have received numerous state and national awards including: The Coretta Scott King A.N.G.E.L. (Advancing Nonviolence Through Generations of Exceptional Leadership) Award, and the National Arts and Humanities Youth Programs Award.

Connect with Jeff and Sojourn


This Episode’s Challenge

Jeff gives us all an open invitation to join one of the Sojourn project trips and immerse ourselves in the living history and lessons of the civil rights movement. He encourages us to explore the written texts and documentaries that they use on the trips at this link. And, he invites us to think about how we can each use our voices to be allies and find our own authentic, transformative path to activism.  


About Sojourn Project

For over 20 years and through 100+ study trips to the American Deep South and Washington, D.C., Sojourn Project has been immersing people from diverse backgrounds in academic, transformative weeklong moving-classroom Journeys. Along the path and through the lens of the Modern Civil Rights Movement and America’s struggles for liberty. Living history. Learning about sacrifices made and lives taken to achieve the right to vote and equality. Our greatest hope is for people to recognize that they too can stand up to injustice and do extraordinary things. A California-based nonprofit, Sojourn has been honored by the United States Congress as the longest-running social justice education and outreach program of its kind.

Related Episodes and Resources To Explore Next

From Mother’s Quest: 

Sojourn Recommended Resources: 

This Episode is Dedicated by Kristi Donna Ng

Kristi Donna Ng is an award-winning screenwriter, actress, producer and hula dancer. Her short films have been screened at the Boston Asian American Film Festival, Syracuse International Film Festival (1st Place Winner), The Barrow Group’s 48 Hour Film Festival (Two-time Audience Award Winner) and The Sparrow Film Project where she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Award. Select theatre credits: Heartstrings (Atlantic Theater Company), Joker (National Queer Theatre), Same Time Next Week (Joust Theatre Company), Love/Sick (PaperKids Theatre Company). Kristi received her Masters Degree in Politics from New York University and previously worked at Human Rights Watch.


Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, Engaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

In celebration of our 100th episode, we invite you to help us spread the word by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Help us reach 100 + reviews to honor 100 + episodes of the Mother’s Quest Podcast!

You can also support the podcast by making a contribution or joining one of our memberships at our Patron Page on Ko-Fi.com. 

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest