Testif-i | Storytelling for Change is a multimedia initiative from A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project that aims to transform the public dialogue on mass incarceration through storytelling and the lived experiences of formerly incarcerated women.
Although women are the fastest-growing segment of the prison population, the national conversation on mass incarceration focuses primarily on the experiences of men. Testif-i will broaden the conversation to include perspectives and insights through the unique lens of gender, race and justice.
Testif-i will feature authentic storytelling by women who have been touched by and triumphed over the tragedies of mass incarceration. It will capture their lived experiences through video vignettes, guided storytelling, social media, live events and “living libraries.”
Testif-i will create a space for formerly incarcerated women to tell their stories. In doing so, Testif-i hopes to realize several goals:
Help formerly incarcerated women to amplify their individual and collective voices, creating civic engagement and agency.
Educate audiences about the toll that mass incarceration exacts on women, families and entire communities.
Inspire enlightened and reimagined public policy that addresses the unique needs of women in the criminal justice system.
A New Way of Life
A New Way of Life (ANWOL) addresses the challenges of community re-entry by providing critical resources and support for formerly incarcerated individuals, especially women, and their children.
The organization provides housing and support to formerly incarcerated women for successful community re-entry, family reunification and individual healing; works to restore the civil rights of formerly incarcerated people; and empowers, organizes and mobilizes formerly incarcerated peoples as advocates for social change and personal transformation.
ANWOL was founded in 1998 by Susan Burton with the vision that formerly incarcerated women in South Los Angeles deserved a space for healing and power.
In 2021, Ms. Burton passed leadership of the organization to Co-Directors Pamela Marshall and Michael Towler. Ms. Burton continues to remain involved in the overseeing the development of ANWOL’s SAFE Housing Network: a network of 31 organizations in 18 states, 30 cities, and four countries (US, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda) committed to replicating ANWOL’s uniquely effective reentry model, grow the infrastructure necessary to decarcerate the nation, and build toward a future without prisons.
Since being founding in 1998, ANWOL has provided housing to over 1,600 women and children, reunited over 400 parents with their children, provided pro bono legal services to over 4,000 individuals, and provided leadership training to over 200 women. Tens of thousands more have been empowered through ANWOL’s advocacy efforts.