Drug Policy Alliance to be Honored With A New Way of Life’s Community Champion Award
(Los Angeles) December 5, 2013 - Orange is the New Black star Vicky Jeudy will join Sean Patrick Thomas, Fringe’s Lance Reddick, Lennie James (Low Winter Sun), and Kearran Giovanni (Major Crimes), as presenters for CNN Hero Susan Burton’s 15th Annual Gala. A New Way of Life Reentry Project’s fundraiser “Looking Back, Moving Forward,” will be held at the Omni Hotel Downtown Los Angeles on Sunday, December 8, 2013. Presented by the office of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the event will hosted by KPFK’s Margaret Prescod.
In addition to other distinguished guests and honorees, the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) will receive A New Way of Life’s Community Champion Award: “This honor recognizes DPA's dedication to ending the war on drugs, which has had disastrous effects on our communities,” said Susan Burton, founder/director of ANWOL. Burton is leading efforts in Los Angeles and across the state to provide homes and services to women coming out of incarceration, as well leading the movement of formerly incarcerated people advocating to end mass incarceration.
“Getting this award from Susan Burton and A New Way of Life means the world to me and my colleagues at DPA,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Her courage and vision, and A New Way of Life’s commitment to merging service and advocacy, distinguish them as both great allies and leaders. My fellow DPA’ers and I are deeply honored to accept this year’s Community Champion Award.”
The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the leading organization in the United States fighting to end the war on drugs and advocating for new drug policies that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. With a CA presence for more than 15 years in California, DPA has sponsored and supported progressive drug policy reforms and landmark ballot initiatives, tackling issues related to sentencing reform, access to sterile syringes, access to drug treatment, and marijuana legalization. DPA is fighting to ensure that our drug policies no longer arrest, incarcerate, disenfranchise and otherwise harm millions – particularly young people and people of color who are disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.
A New Way of Life has helped more than 700 women make a successful transition from prison back to the community and has five houses in the South Central Los Angeles area. After cycling in and out of the criminal justice system for nearly 20 years, Burton gained freedom and sobriety and founded A New Way of Life in 1998, a non-profit that helps women who are being released from jails and institutions, provide housing, legal assistance, child care, and so much more as they rebuild their lives, reunite with their families, and reintegrate into society. Susan was honored with the CNN Top 10 Hero Award in 2010.
This year’s other honorees include Simona Farrise, who will receive the Movement Builder Award for her efforts and years of dedicated service to supporting the work of A New Way of Life and other organizations that are affecting change in the criminal justice system and the lives of those who are on the road to transformation. The Synergy Teamwork Award recognizes the combined efforts of the recipients in supporting A New Way of Life’s mission, goals, and services through years of remarkable dedication in helping to provide pro bono, “clean slate” legal services and will be awarded to Jim and Meg Morrow. A New Way of Life’s Alumni Award will be presented to Tiffany Johnson. This award is given annually to an individual who has embraced the opportunities provided through A New Way of Life and has exhibited extraordinary determination and perseverance in furthering the success of her personal reentry journey.
During the inspirational evening, the charity will celebrate the beauty of their residents’ personal transformations, shared accomplishments, and honor their dear friends and supporters that help to continue to provide housing and reentry support, advocate for human and civil rights and build the leadership skills of formerly incarcerated individuals. A red carpet VIP reception will kick off the night at 5:00pm followed by a silent auction, dinner, entertainment and awards presentations.
This year’s gala will feature entertainment by the jazz fusion music group Gongfarmer Collective and headline performance by award-winning songstress Susan Toney (Current hit single “Trail of Light and Dark”).
Other sponsors include “Imagineer” sponsor Farrise Law Firm and the California Endowment, “Progressor” sponsors Drug Policy Alliance and LA City Councilman Curren Price and “Advocate” sponsors Xerox Corporation, V-Day, Iris Brewer LLC and USC’s School of Social Work.