Press Release

A New Way of Life Reentry Project gala to commemorate 20 years of helping formerly incarcerated women break the cycle of entrapment in the criminal justice system


With a theme of “Remembering the Women,” A New Way of Life will celebrate its anniversary and honor champions of social justice on December 2 at the LA Grand Hotel Downtown, joined by special guests including Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman, TV judge Greg Mathis, and attorney & Time’s Up founding member Nina Shaw.

LOS ANGELES (November 28, 2018) — A New Way of Life Reentry Project, a grassroots non-profit organization founded by social justice advocate Susan Burton, will commemorate its 20th anniversary, celebrate its accomplishments, and remember the women it has served during a gala dinner at LA Grand Hotel Downtown on December 2. The event’s title sponsor is the Drug Policy Alliance.

After serving six terms in prison, Susan Burton established A New Way of Life in 1998 as a safe house where formerly incarcerated women could find hope and stability after leaving prison. From that one house in Watts, A New Way of Life has expanded to seven homes — including two in Long Beach — and now employs 29 people. It has served more than 1,000 women and their children, and its legal clinics have helped over 3,000 community members clean up their records. A New Way of Life also provides advocacy on behalf of formerly incarcerated people and leadership development for justice-involved women.

“Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe we’ve come this far, but for 20 years, we’ve consistently accomplished what society says couldn’t be done,” Burton says. “There have been so many women whose lives have been forever changed as a result of coming to A New Way of Life, and my life has been changed forever by this work. I hope that everyone who attends the gala on December 2 will be changed, too.”

The gala dinner will be hosted by Val Zavala, retired vice president of News and Public Affairs and former host of “SoCal” at KCET, the nation’s largest independent public television station. Special guests and awards presenters will include Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman; attorney and Time’s Up founding member Nina Shaw; Grammy-nominated singer/actress Antonique Smith; and “STAR” and “Days of Our Lives” actress Camila Banus.

Each year, A New Way of Life honors people who are making a difference in the lives of justice-involved people, as well as women who have exhibited extraordinary determination and perseverance during their reentry journeys. This year’s honorees include:

  • Margaret Prescod, host of Sojourner Truth, a public affairs program that airs on Pacifica Radio stations nationwide, including KPFK 90.7 FM in Southern California;
  • Ellen Adler, publisher of The New Press, whose books — including “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander and “Becoming Ms. Burton” by ANWOL founder Susan Burton — have changed the national conversation about criminal justice reform;
  • Peter Sheehan, a California attorney who has dedicated his career to protecting and advancing the constitutional rights of those affected by mass incarceration; and
  • Ingrid Archie, a former A New Way of Life Reentry Project resident who now works for the organization as a civic engagement coordinator and Prop. 47 specialist.

In addition to title sponsorship by the Drug Policy Alliance, other sponsors of the event include AT&T, Affordable Housing CDC, Andrea James of the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, Andrew Auto Service Center, David Bower of LOA Management Company, California Wellness Foundation, Californians for Safety and Justice, Farrise Law Firm, Farmers & Merchants Bank, Julia Meltzer & David Thorne, Kaiser Permanente, Rena Braud of Keller Williams Realty, Lucy’s Auto, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Kevin Holland of Next Level Investments Group, Omnia Foundation, Pacific Premier Bank, Peak Performance Training Centers, Senator Steven Bradford, Law Offices of Solov & Teitell, Schultz Family Foundation, McLaughlin Children’s Trust, Open Hearts Foundation, and an anonymous sponsor.

The event will take place from 6 pm to 9 pm on Sunday, December 2, at the LA Grand Hotel Downtown (333 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles 90071). The red carpet will be open from 4:30 to 5 pm, and a VIP reception will be held from 4:30 to 6 pm. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit


About A New Way of Life

In 1998, Susan Burton founded A New Way of Life Reentry Project (ANWOL) to help women, families, and communities break the cycle and heal from the formidable experiences of incarceration. ANWOL advances multi-dimensional solutions to the effects of incarceration, including (1) providing housing and support to formerly incarcerated women for successful community re-entry, family reunification, and individual healing; (2) working to restore the civil rights of formerly incarcerated people; and (3) empowering, organizing, and mobilizing formerly incarcerated people as advocates for social change and personal transformation.

A New Way of Life envisions a world where every person can make decisions for his/her own life, is accountable for those decisions, and is valued as a contributing member of the community. ANWOL has been a driving force in considerable policy reforms, including the ban-the-box ordinances and the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act (Proposition 47), a historic measure to reverse decades of antiquated approaches to community safety and justice, properly redirecting costly prison construction and management resources to education, re-entry, and victims’ services.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter