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CSULB to host activist Susan Burton

Formerly incarcerated non-profit founder to share her experiences as a six-time prison mate.

Susan+Burton+visits+Sybil+Brand+Institute+where+she+had+been+incarcerated+six+times+before+founding+her+reentry+program%2C+A+New+Way+of+Life.%0A%0A
Susan Burton visits Sybil Brand Institute where she had been incarcerated six times before founding her reentry program, A New Way of Life.

Susan Burton visits Sybil Brand Institute where she had been incarcerated six times before founding her reentry program, A New Way of Life.

Jessey Dearing

Jessey Dearing

Susan Burton visits Sybil Brand Institute where she had been incarcerated six times before founding her reentry program, A New Way of Life.

Sarah Amaral, Staff Writer

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Drugs, death and heartbreak; these are just a few of the areas of turmoil Susan Burton has faced throughout her life. A six-time returnee to prison, Burton is now an activist working with ex-convicts, and has created the nonprofit organization, A New Way of Life.

Her organization is dedicated to providing assistance with housing, and any social or legal issues these women may face. She has become passionate in helping women in their transformations from prison to a life on the outside.

Cal State Long Beach will be hosting “An Evening with Susan Burton” at the Karl Anatol Center this upcoming Tuesday, Feb. 13 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Guests are invited to hear the CNN Top Ten Hero tell her story, and how she has helped thousands of women overcome the same challenges throughout the past 20 years.  

Tiffany Johnson was one of the women Susan helped.

“I was a lifer at the time, at the Central California Women’s Facility,” Johnson said. “I would reach out to organizations across California but I kept getting denied. A New Way of Life is the only one that got back to me, and from day one they promised me that I had a bed waiting for me when I was out. It took me six years to get there, but once I was out, there was that bed waiting for me.”

Johnson was incarcerated for 16 years, but has spent every day since working with A New Way of Life making it her life goal to help these women in need. “Being able to help my fellow sisters coming out of incarceration and helping them grab hold of the life they deserve [is the goal].”

Not only has Burton touched the lives of those who were incarcerated, she is speaking publicly to empower women of all ages to do their part in fighting for such a powerful cause.

“I’m all about women helping women, and providing resources to women who need them,” said Samantha Chaffee, a junior. “The fact that the justice system isn’t rehabilitative, often leading to people reoffending, is something that needs to be fixed.”

Burton’s organization thus far has helped more than 1,000 women and their children find safety through re-entry homes, and over 3,500 formerly homeless individuals were able to acquire enough items in order to establish homes for themselves.  

“I believe every woman should go to an event like this,” said Jordan Mejia, a senior. “She has come such a long way and I would love to go and support her and show her that people really care for her and what she has done in her life thus far.”

1 Comment

One Response to “CSULB to host activist Susan Burton”

  1. Proud 49r on February 8th, 2018 1:38 pm

    What an incredible story! I hope everyone can listen to here speak!

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