Press Release

A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project to Honor CA Senator Holly J. Mitchell and Civil Rights Attorney Benjamin Crump


We are appreciative that one of our oldest funders and title sponsor, The Drug Policy Alliance, helps advance our policy and advocacy work to restore civil and human rights to people with convictions.”

— Susan Burton, a nationally-known social change activist.

A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project (ANWOL), a grassroots non-profit, founded by Social Justice Advocate Susan Burton will host its 19th Annual Gala and Awards Event on Sunday, December 3 at The LA Hotel Downtown, 333 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071. The gala is co-hosted by Val Zavala, vice president of News and Public Affairs at KCET, the nation’s largest independent public television station, and Margaret Prescod, host of Sojourner Truth, a public affairs program on Pacifica Radio stations KPFK 90.7 FM in Southern California, WPFW in Washington, DC, WBAI in New York City and several affiliate stations across the country.


Press interviews, red carpet arrivals, silent auction and pre-show reception begin at 5 pm, followed by the dinner and awards program at 6 pm. Media check-in at 4 p.m.


ANWOL will honor California State Senator Holly J. Mitchell (Community Champion Award), Civil Rights Attorney Benjamin Crump, Esq. (Industry Impact Award), Impact Justice (Movement Builder Award), and A New Way of Life’s Legal Department (Flozelle Woodmore Memorial Award). Each of the 2017 recipients understand and support our mission to restore the civil rights of formerly incarcerated people and to empower, organize and mobilize formerly incarcerated people as advocates for social change and personal transformation.


“We are appreciative that one of our oldest funders and title sponsor, The Drug Policy Alliance, helps advance our policy and advocacy work to restore civil and human rights to people with convictions,” said Burton, dubbed the modern-day Harriet Tubman by social justice advocates, who has helped more than 1,000 formerly incarcerated women find their way to a better quality of life. Burton has traveled to other countries to change the narrative about mass incarceration among women and has appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Tavis Smiley, Starbucks’ Upstanders, KTLA Channel 5, and more.


This year’s theme, “The Progression,” exemplifies our vision of 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 and our mission to advance multi-dimensional solutions to the effects of incarceration.


“The Drug Policy Alliance is enormously proud to stand as the title sponsor for A New Way of Life’s 19th Annual Gala,” said Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, the Drug Policy Alliance’s Executive Director. “We have been delighted to support an organization that has done so much to defend and secure rights and equity for formerly incarcerated women and girls, allowing them not only to re-enter society, but to thrive and develop as social justice advocates in their own right.”


Presenters are Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza (retired); actor Chiké Okonkwo (The Birth of a Nation, Burning Sands and Being Mary Jane); actor Sheldon Bailey (Nickelodeon Game Shakers, Shameless); actress Taja V. Simpson (Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween); and Ptosha Storey (Empire and If Loving You is Wrong).Grammy-nominated singer Angie Fisher will perform and dinner music will be provided by Robert Colvin (Sax for All Occasions).


Other attendees include Jimmy Jean Louis (Hero and Joy), Laura Govan (Basketball Wives); Veronika Obeng (Second Wives Club); Tammy Townsend (Disney Channel’s K.C. Undercover); Pop Artist EMII; residents of housing provided by ANWOL, politicians, community and religious leaders, ANWOL board members including “Empire” Casting Director Leah Daniels Butler who also serves on the board, and others.


In addition to the Drug Policy Alliance, sponsors include The California Endowment, the Office of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, 2nd District, the Office of Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price, Affordable Housing CDC, Bill Resnick and Michael Stubbs, Office of Senator Steven Bradford, District 35; Californians for Safety and Justice, Open Society Foundations, Omnia Foundation, USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, Pacific Premier Bank, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children/All Of Us Or None, Lucy’s Auto, Keller Williams Realty – Silicon Beach, Andrew’s Auto Service Center and the Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership. In-kind sponsors are Murad, Oilmi Beauty, Tim Sher, Sheldon Bailey, Footnanny, Tavis Smiley, and more.


For talent and media submission or sponsorship contact Marie Lemelle at 213-276-7827 or


About Susan Burton
Susan Burton, described as the Harriet Tubman of our time, is the founder of A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project (ANWOL) and the annual Justice on Trial Film Festival to visually raise the awareness about social justice, mass incarceration, and the need for criminal justice reform. In 2017, ANWOL launched JustUS Voices Storytelling for Change℠ – a multimedia initiative aiming to transform the policy and public dialogue on mass incarceration through the lived experiences of formerly incarcerated women.


About A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project (ANWOL)
Founded in 1998 by CNN Top Ten Hero Susan Burton, A New Way of Life, based in South Los Angeles, provides housing and support to benefit formerly incarcerated women for successful community re-entry, family reunification and individual healing. ANWOL also works to restore the civil rights of formerly incarcerated people and empowering, organizing and mobilizing advocates for social change, civic engagement and personal transformation. Burton is the author of her memoir, “Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women” available at and Amazon.


Connect with Ms. Burton and A New Way of Life Re-entry Project on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.


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Marie Lemelle
Platinum Star PR
(213) 276-7827
email us here

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