A New Way of Life http://www.anewwayoflife.org Reentry Project Sat, 20 Jan 2018 00:28:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.5 LaTonya’s Story http://www.anewwayoflife.org/latonyas-story/ Sat, 09 Sep 2017 19:45:56 +0000 http://www.anewwayoflife.org/?p=3061

LaTanya-transfers

LaTanya’s Story:
After I came to A New Way of Life, at first, the hardest thing was to get my ID. After being incarcerated for 28 years, there was no record of me. It took two months, but they were finally able to confirm my identity through my son’s death certificate.

The other hard thing was getting around. I had a young niece who I had never met face to face; she was born during my incarceration. She helped drive me places. I started to pay attention to street signs and bus numbers. Ms. Tiffany and Ms. Pamela gave me bus tokens and I found I could get around on my own. I recently started helping another woman learn how to get around.

A New Way of Life gave me housing; a roof over my head. Ms. Susan and Ms. Tiffany gave me resources; they showed me strength. I got a job walking in neighborhoods to encourage people to vote. It was exciting to work with Mr. Larry and Ms. Ingrid – I was learning to talk to people in general and to do something for myself.

Ms. Tiffany is such an inspiration to me! If I did something wrong, she would talk to me in private – not in front of other people. That was important, she really listened. She took me and the other women on so many outings; to Palm Springs and other community events. She taught me so much about living.

I’ve been out one year now. I applied for a transfer to live near my sister in Adelanto, near Victorville. Yesterday, I got a phone call from my agent. She said, “I have good news – you’re leaving. You’re going to be with your sister.” I was so excited! Ms. Tiffany was out of town, but I texted her right away.

My journey at A New Way of Life has been awesome. Thank you to Ms. Susan, Ms. Tiffany, Ms. Ingrid, Ms. Loretta, Ms. Iris, Ms. Pamela and Mr. Larry.

I’m ready to leave now.

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ANWOL Champion: Lily Gonzalez http://www.anewwayoflife.org/anwol-champion-lily-gonzalez/ Thu, 20 Jul 2017 04:57:28 +0000 http://www.anewwayoflife.org/?p=3033 A New Way of Life’s Community Organizer, Lily Gonzalez, is a grad student, mom, JustUS Voices storyteller and blogger for La Comadre. She began working at A New Way of Life in April of 2017 and was featured in a recent LA Times article about fair chances.

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Ban the Box: What You Need to Know http://www.anewwayoflife.org/ban-the-box-what-you-need-to-know/ Fri, 06 Jan 2017 21:57:33 +0000 http://www.anewwayoflife.org/?p=2774 amber-rose-and-crew

I sat down today with our Community Organizer, Amber Rose Howard, to talk about “Ban the Box,” officially known as the Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance. As its name suggests, the Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance is a policy that sets in place a procedure for employers to follow that would guarantee more fairness in the hiring process for people with conviction histories.

“The Box” refers to the question that is found on most job applications that inquires about conviction histories. Statistics have indicated that those who disclose conviction histories are 50% less likely to move forward for gainful employment.

“Those with conviction histories such as myself know that the application is going to be shoved to the bottom or thrown out because the past conviction is essentially an automatic disqualifier” says Amber Rose.

“Policy won’t change society. But policy forces a change in habit. A change in habit can influence attitude, and then we have an opportunity to change the hearts of people. I’m hoping that employers and people in general see that just because someone is formerly convicted does not mean that they are a bad person or that they are a risk. I hope that as society we start to welcome people with former convictions as normal human beings. We have a 60%+ recidivism rate in California, and it’s because people are not being welcomed back into the community. Not only are people being turned away from jobs, but there is a powerful stigma surrounding those with conviction histories.”

The Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance passed on November 30th, 2016. The City of Los Angeles enforces the most progressive form of the ordinance – it’s illegal to inquire about a person’s conviction unless it comes after a conditional offer of employment in Los Angeles. Statewide, it simply bans the question on an application but doesn’t prohibit any inquiries during the interview process.

“I hope there is a psycho-social benefit to the passing of the Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance in addition to there being a fiscal, economic plus,” says Amber Rose. “Everybody deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

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Residents Presented with Gifts from Lincoln Memorial http://www.anewwayoflife.org/residents-presented-with-gifts-from-lincoln-memorial/ Mon, 19 Dec 2016 19:59:23 +0000 http://www.anewwayoflife.org/?p=2749 As the holidays approach, we’ve had the privilege of being honored so generously by a number of great organizations. Just yesterday, representatives from the Lincoln Memorial Congregational Church stopped by one of our homes on 91st street to present our residents with gifts.

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I spoke briefly with Jocelyn Williams, a member of the Church, and asked about their intentions, “Once a year we come out at Christmas time to give the women and anyone with children gifts. We just want to make sure that they have a good Christmas, always. Everyone deserves that.”

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The residents have more gifts to come, as Park Windsor Baptist Church will be coming with gifts of their own this Wednesday, December 21st – Just in time for the holidays.

 

 

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ANWOL Champion: Pavithra Menon http://www.anewwayoflife.org/anwol-champion-pavithra-menon/ Thu, 15 Dec 2016 00:06:11 +0000 http://www.anewwayoflife.org/?p=2741 pavithra

Pavithra Menon first became familiar with A New Way of Life by volunteering at our legal clinics as a UCLA Law student. She loved helping out and working directly with the clients, “As a law student, you don’t get many opportunities to do that.”

Pavithra previously worked at a private law firm representing employees who faced discrimination or retaliation before joining our team. She worked with various public interest organizations in the Southern California area while in law school. These experiences made it clear to her that she eventually wanted to return to the nonprofit sector.

“I hope that we not only are able to change individual lives, but that we are able to create systemic change in such a way that our clients can move forward and seek out opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to them.”

As one of our valued staff attorneys, Pavithra supervises the re-entry legal clinic, which serves as a first stop for clients in their journey to getting post-conviction relief.  She helps clients with dismissing convictions under state expungement law and reducing felonies to misdemeanors. In addition, she trains the clinic volunteers and oversees their work. Pavithra also represents clients at court hearings and files petitions on their behalf. When appropriate, she files legal motions and briefs as necessary and has worked on two appeals made to the California Court of Appeals. Finally, Pavithra prepares clients for administrative hearings in order to obtain occupational licenses or criminal record exemptions that they need for work.

When asked about her goals for the community and our society at large, Pavithra stated, “I hope that our work and advocacy will change more and more of the public’s opinion about our clients in terms of seeing them as real people who can rehabilitate and can contribute to society, and seeing them less as criminals who are beyond redemption. I hope that we not only are able to change individual lives, but that we are able to create systemic change in such a way that our clients can move forward and seek out opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to them.”

Pavithra Menon holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Texas at Austin in Finance & Liberal Arts Honors. She received her J.D. from the UCLA School of Law. She’s from Austin, Texas, and enjoys Netflix, trying out new restaurants, and travelling.

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Passing the Torch: 2016 Gala & Beyond http://www.anewwayoflife.org/passing-the-torch-2016-gala-beyond/ Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:05:47 +0000 http://www.anewwayoflife.org/?p=2709 Associate Director Tiffany Johnson shares her thoughts on the 2016 Gala and the organization’s direction moving forward

 

    I sat down today with our Associate Director Tiffany Johnson to catch up on the Gala. It’s been two days since the event, and although the fatigue in organizing such an enormous event is evident as she speaks in a mellow tone, she is nevertheless warm and dedicated to her work. There are few moments during which I’ve seen Tiffany catch some rest. In fact, most would believe she never doesthe rare exceptions being her forced trips to the hospital for her neck acts up (she is in recovery for a herniated disc which she began suffering from last spring). Her eyes light up as we relive the Gala together and cover the highlights.

     “We had expected anywhere from 300-350 people tops. The day before and the day of the gala our numbers went up significantly, to about 450.”

She’s excited to see the actual count which is roughly estimated to be around 500.

     “Given that there were that many people there, the program went so smoothly. We were able to get our residents engaged by getting their photos on the red carpet which was phenomenal. The silent auction area was beautiful, elegant and very tempting to the eye, and I believe we sold the majority of the baskets.”

     Indeed our Gala did run very smoothly given the remarkably high attendance this year. Furthermore, our 2016 Gala saw a number of high-profile celebrities and personalities visit and speak, making this year’s gala one of our most star-studded events yet.

     “Kym Whitley, LisaRaye, Christine Devine (just to name a few) are very well-known, so for them to come and support the Gala and to celebrate our residents and to present them with awardsI think that was an inspiration to the women. To be presented this special award for the hard work that they’ve been doing was surely a proud moment for them, one that would encourage them to move further in their journey.”

     Our honored 2016 Gala guests were active participants. They were not just supportive, but engaged. These relationships are helpful to an organization like ours. Tiffany briefly reflects on this:

     “You never know how the relationships might unfold. Christine Devine — we know that she is this very prominent newscaster, but for her to share her personal story and the struggles that her family went through, the connection that brought her to ANWOL’s Gala is the same connection we have in the work that we’re doing. Seeing how her own family has faced incarceration, that shows me that it’s not just within the communities of color and the low-income communities… mass incarceration touches every sector of our society, and now that it’s being brought out, spoken on and fought against, I think more people will stand up alongside us.”

“…mass incarceration touches every sector of our society, and now that it’s being brought out, spoken on and fought against, I think more people will stand up alongside us.”

     Carolyn Robinson and Vasanté Bailey were both presented with the Flozelle Woodmore Memorial Award, introduced by LisaRaye McCoy and Kym Whitley respectively. Lennie James was also at the event to receive the Industry Impact Award on behalf of Emma Hewitt. Tessa Blake shared some words on her behalf.

     Rhyon Nicole Brown introduced our Community Champion Award, received by Dr. Cheryl Grills. Additionally, KPFK’s Margaret Prescod was present to give a moving and well-deserved introduction to Michelle Alexander.

     “I think Margaret Prescod said it all when she introduced Michelle Alexander. I think she is one of our modern day civil rights movement builders. Having her was greatlooking at her and hearing her, she presents herself in such a humble fashion and to me that speaks volumes about her as a person, and you see this in her work as well. Her book The New Jim Crow is crucial because it informs the public of our struggle against mass incarceration and discrimination against people of color. It’s a wake-up call and a call to action.”

“[The New Jim Crow] is a wake-up call and a call to action.”

     Finally, Tiffany and I talk about the future of A New Way of Life, our direction and her selection as Susan’s successor.

     “I am deeply humbled that Susan has chosen me to be her successor. As I said during the Gala, she has seen a promise in me and has given me the opportunity to become who I am and who I am destined to be. The transition in my eyes is going to be continuous, and I say that because I will always go to her as my mentor to help lead and guide me. In addition, we have a dedicated team at A New Way of Lifethese are the champions who are doing the everyday work that needs to get done for our cause. I’m thankful and honored to be working with such a dynamic group of people and to stand side by side with them as we continue to make changes and elevate the quality of people’s lives.”

     That’s the key herethat our work is constantly changing people’s lives and elevating their quality of life. Tiffany reflects on a moment during which she saw the fruits of our labor during a serendipitous encounter with a former client of A New Way of Life:

     “This guy came up to me the other day when I was on my way to a meeting with the Board of Supervisors in downtown, and he came up to me and he said ‘thank you. You guys helped me with my expungment and that has meant the world to me.’ We spoke for a bit, and I learned that he works now with another nonprofit doing the same kind of workgiving back, and that’s what it’s all about. People just want an opportunity, a new chance to start fresh. And that’s what we do, we assist people in their new way of living.”

Lastly, Tiffany shed some light on the future and the direction our organization will take in the coming years.

     “The core passion that has guided us up until now will continue strong into next year. That isn’t changing. We’re a passionate group of people. This is who we are and what we do, and that’s not going to change.”

 

Eric Villalpando

ANWOL Communications Dept.

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Prop 47…A Second Look http://www.anewwayoflife.org/prop-47-a-second-look/ Fri, 11 Nov 2016 15:19:39 +0000 http://www.anewwayoflife.org/?p=2648 Click to Read the Presentation...Prop 47 Funding Suggestions ]]> WOJO LEADERSHIP LAB TRAINING APPLICATION http://www.anewwayoflife.org/wojo-leadership-lab-training-application/ http://www.anewwayoflife.org/wojo-leadership-lab-training-application/#comments Tue, 05 Apr 2016 06:52:28 +0000 http://anewwayoflife.org//?p=1684 April 5, 2016 /  / Comment / Blog, WOJO, Women

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GALA & AWARDS 2015 http://www.anewwayoflife.org/gala-awards-2015/ Fri, 09 Oct 2015 06:54:03 +0000 http://anewwayoflife.org//?p=1689  

BENDING THE ARC … TOWARD JUSTICE

2015 GALA & AWARDS  

INDUSTRY IMPACT AWARD

Piper Kerman

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Author, Orange is the New Black

MOVEMENT BUILDER AWARD

Daryl Atkinson

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Attorney, Southern Coalition for Social Justice

Community Champion Award

World Vision – Women of Vision, Orange County

WOV 2014
Supporters of Women and Children

Flozelle Woodmore Memorial Award

Terron Franklin

Terron
Alumnus, A New Way of Life

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NOT JUST IN FERGUSON http://www.anewwayoflife.org/not-just-in-ferguson/ http://www.anewwayoflife.org/not-just-in-ferguson/#comments Sat, 18 Jul 2015 05:19:10 +0000 http://anewwayoflife.org//?p=1670 Over four million Californians are without a valid driver’s license, not because they pose a risk to public safety, but because they are trapped in a spiral of court fines and fees they cannot afford to pay, according to “Not Just a Ferguson Problem – How Traffic Courts Drive Inequality in California”.NotJustFerguson

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