The Center for Peace and Justice Education at Villanova University will present its 2017 Adela Dwyer-St. Thomas of Villanova Peace Award to Susan Burton, a national leader in the push for reform of the criminal justice system. Drawing on her personal experiences of nearly two decades in the criminal justice system, Burton founded A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project (ANWOL) in 1998, dedicating her life to helping others break the cycle of incarceration.
Burton will accept the award and present a lecture, "From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women,” at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, October 19, in the Driscoll Hall Auditorium, on the main campus of Villanova University. The event is free and open to the public. Since 1990, the Adela Dwyer-St. Thomas of Villanova Peace Award has recognized an individual or group annually for outstanding contributions to the understanding of the meaning and conditions of justice and peace in human communities.
Burton founded ANWOL to provide resources such as housing, case management, employment, legal services, leadership development and community organizing on behalf of, and with, people who struggle to rebuild their lives after dwelling in an underworld of incarceration. She is the co-founder of All of Us or None (AOUON) and the Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People's Movement (FICPM), both national grassroots civil rights movements comprised of formerly incarcerated individuals, their families and community allies. In 2010, she was named a CNN Top Ten Hero and received the prestigious Citizen Activist Award from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. In 2015, the Los Angeles Times named her one of the nation’s 18 New Civil Rights Leaders
"Ms. Burton’s tremendous work has reclaimed and empowered so many of those whose lives seemed hopelessly crushed by mass incarceration,” said Kathryn Getek Soltis, S.T.L., Ph.D., Director of the Center for Peace and Justice Education. “She gives us fearless insights into human dignity and the grassroots organizing work that must be done to alter structures, practices, and attitudes.”
The University’s Center for Peace and Justice Education selects its annual Adela Dwyer-St. Thomas of Villanova Peace Award recipient from a list of candidates nominated by members of the Villanova University community. Past winners include NETWORK; Wendell Berry; Leymah Gbowee; Noam Chomsky; Daniel J. Berrigan, SJ; Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ; Project H.O.M.E.; and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit www.villanova.edu.