As Susan Burton walked out of prison for the sixth and last time, she heard a call pushing against her departure.
“I’ll see you back in a little,” a prison guard smirked. Susan, unperturbed and defiant, continued marching forward with a new motto in her heart.
Yes, she says today, I will be back. But as a warrior and liberator to claim women who are still here.
Burton is one of ten women showcased by L’Oréal Paris for their work to uplift communities through service. The honorees each receive $20,000 to support their cause, mentorship from the L’Oréal Paris network and a national platform to tell their stories.
In 1998 Burton, a six-time repeat offender for low-level drug possession charges, got clean and sober and founded the Los Angeles-based A New Way of Life Reentry Project (ANWOL). Sixteen states, 24 sites and thousands of women later, ANWOL has created a national model for women’s reentry, providing housing and wrap-around services that take aim at racism, trauma and over-incarceration. Her reentry program also insists on civic engagement and education for the women who join ANWOL.