Drawing on my own experiences, I founded A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project (ANWOL) in 1998, dedicated to helping women, families and our communities break the cycle and heal from the formidable experiences of incarceration. ANWOL provides housing, case management, pro bono legal services, advocacy and policy development on behalf of women rebuilding their lives. Today, we are in the midst of a critical moment in the criminal justice reform movement. We have locked hands in solidarity in advancing several initiatives, measures and calls-to-action. I believe this period will be noted as the time we positively moved the needle for a wide consortium of citizens, voters, stakeholders and policy makers with monumental shifts in consciousness, steering us from punitive, outdated and counter-productive approaches to wise, compassionate and redemptive forms of fairness.
Consider the Ban-the-Box ordinances taking hold from city to city across our state, signaling a significant change in the employment application process for thousands of job-seekers shackled with the stigma of a criminal record. Then, in November 2014, we proudly witnessed California take the national lead with the overwhelming passage of the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act (Proposition 47). This historic measure reverses decades of antiquated approaches to community safety and justice, properly redirecting costly prison construction and management resources to education, re-entry and victims’ services. All of these efforts bring light to the issues we address and humanize those we are called to serve. In this climate we have greater reason to believe.
We are focused and grounded in our humanity. At the core and foundation of our work are the people, the women, children and families in our community re-entry mission. You remain the face and heart in all that we do. Your strength, courage and perseverance steer us in our services and remind us daily why we believe in A New Way of Life.
We thank all of you for supporting the cause, committing to the movement and bringing the spirit. If ever there was a time to seize the moment and build on the momentum, this is it …. welcome to our site.