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Susan Burton

Susan Burton Honoree Profile
About

Susan Burton is the founder of A New Way of Life Reentry Project, a non-profit organization that facilitates healing, power and opportunity for formerly incarcerated people.

Burton struggled to rise above a life of poverty, violence and loss. After being released from prison for the sixth time, she was finally able to access recovery services in an affluent area of Los Angeles. There, she discovered and embraced opportunities that were never offered before. Determined to bring those resources to areas plagued by poverty and over-incarceration, Burton founded A New Way of Life Reentry Project (ANWOL) in 1998. Now, over two decades later, A New Way of Life, is an internationally recognized non-profit organization that promotes healing, leadership development and safety for formerly incarcerated women. ANWOL has supported the reentry of over 5,500 individuals through safe housing, pro bono legal services and leadership development to date.

After a 2017-18 tour with her award-winning memoir, Becoming Ms. Burton, in 64 prisons and jails throughout 26 states and three countries, Burton launched the SAFE (Sisterhood Alliance for Freedom and Equality) Housing Network to replicate A New Way of Life’s effective and humane reentry model. Since 2018, Burton has mentored and supported 24 organizations in 16 U.S. states (Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington) and three countries (Uganda, Kenya and the U.S.) to open their own safe homes. It is through this work that she thrives, enjoying the progress of her foundations, all while knowing how many individual lives she has touched and changed throughout her own journey.    

Burton is also the co-founder of All of Us or None (AOUON) and the Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People and Families Movement (FICPFM), both national grassroots civil rights movements composed of formerly incarcerated individuals, their families and community allies. In collaboration with UCLA’s Critical Race Studies Program, she launched an employment rights reentry legal clinic, which has grown to be the largest of its kind in Southern California. 

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