CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Susan Burton, a nationally recognized advocate for restoring civil and human rights to formerly incarcerated women, will discuss her new book and the challenges of re-entering society after prison at an event Tuesday, May 15, in Champaign.
“Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women” is published by The New Press.
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Burton will talk about her recent memoir, “Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women” (The New Press, 2017). The event, which is free and open to the public, will be at 7 p.m. at Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, 1310 N. Sixth St.
The Education Justice Project at the University of Illinois is co-sponsoring the event.
Co-written with Cari Lynn, the book explores Burton’s experiences growing up amidst poverty and abuse, describing how she turned her life around after the death of her son triggered a downward spiral into addiction and 15 years in the criminal justice system.
Winner of the Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice, Burton’s memoir underscores the difficulties she experienced re-entering society after prison and the structural reforms that she believes are needed to restore the lives of people facing similar challenges.
Burton’s experiences inspired her to found the nonprofit organization A New Way of Life, which provides help and healing to women rebuilding their lives after leaving prison. Based in Los Angeles, the organization provides housing and support to formerly incarcerated women, helping them to find work, stay drug free and reunite with their communities and families.
Burton’s talk is supported by a grant from the Mellon Foundation. Co-sponsors of the event are: Build Programs Not Jails, First Followers, Times Scholars, Urbana-Champaign Friends Meeting and, at the U. of I., the Illinois Program for the Research in the Humanities and the department of African American Studies.