Second Chances, First Steps, Making Heroes 

This commentary, authored by founder and president Gwen McKinney, originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

You can say Susan Burton has 20/20 vision. The lens is tinted in shades of trauma and triumph.

It’s been 20 years outside and 20 inside California’s criminal justice system. While the decades between then and now break even, Burton, 65, confides that the seesaw she rides remains lopsided.

Between 1976 and 1996, she cycled in and out of the system six times for low-level drug offenses. Finally, after the sixth time Burton secured residential substance misuse treatment. That intervention, never offered before, affirmed her worthy of a second chance – the first step in her transformation from victim to champion.

Rehab led to sober living, a decent job, modest savings and a cottage in South Central Los Angeles. Then came a sense of agency and empowerment and Burton never stopped connecting with women she met during her revolving door through the cages of California.

Fast-forward 18 years, five houses and some 1,000 women later.


W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Weingart Foundation Support Multi-Media Project

Storytelling Gives Voice to Women and Human Impact of Mass Incarceration $850,000 Seed Grant Launches Project 

By Llenda Jackson-Leslie

Few think of women as prisoners and even fewer imagine mothers or grandmothers behind bars.  But the ranks of incarcerated women are expanding. Only Thailand jails more women than the United States. Sixty percent of imprisoned women have children under 18.  Between 1980 and 2014, the women‘s prison population has increased more than 700 percent.

Susan Burton has lived the trauma behind those numbers. Founder of Los Angeles-based A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project (ANWOL), Burton cycled in and out of prison six times before finally receiving rehabilitation treatment for substance misuse. Thus, began her new path and an open door to other formerly incarcerated women. Over the past 18 years, ANWOL has provided residential and wrap-around reentry support uniquely supplemented with leadership development and civic engagement that also speaks to the special challenges of gender and justice. The next phase of the work is to build a bridge between the women and the larger society through the power of storytelling.

For Sale: "To The Defense" by
Jacob Lawrence
Considered a "foremost Black artist" by Time magazine, Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000), rose from a tough childhood (father abandoned him at age 7, and grew up in foster homes with his two other siblings in N.J., until they lived with their mother in Philadelphia, and then later, Harlem) to become one of America's most passionate chronicler of the African American experience.

This officially appraised lithograph can be yours for $6,000 OBO!

If you, or someone you know may be interested in this work of art, or would like more information, please feel free to contact us.
The Cause, Case, And Call For Action For Blacks In Philanthropy 


By Nicole Hayes

An inequitable distribution of philanthropic resources to Black-led social change organizations over the years has hampered and restrained the growth, capacity and impact of these organizations and the communities that they serve.

That concern will be articulated in an impassioned appeal for investments in the infrastructure of Black-led organizations by the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE).


#SocialJusticeChat: Cultural Considerations for the Holidays

The final #SocialJusticeChat for 2016 focused on Cultural Considerations for Holidays. Here are some of the great tips we received from tweeps:
  1. Inclusivity does not equate to politically correctness.
  2. Be intentional in recognizing other holidays, such as Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Ramadan and Diwali.
  3. Establish a welcoming atmosphere and encourage people to share their traditions, stories and foods.
  4. Respect a co-worker’s decision not to participate in a holiday event.
  5. Keep decorations general and non-specific to any religion. Create a winter theme with lights and color rather than religious icons.
  6. Consider a grab bag instead of a “Secret Santa” gift exchange.
  7. When planning events, ask people if they have dietary restrictions or special needs.


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