@donnahylton who I featured last year for the Women's March on Washington, was invited to attend the White House prison reform forum but then she was denied entrance at the door. Hylton, who lives in Brooklyn, was one of the speakers the D.C rally. "Once , I wasn't able to speak up for myself but now I can. I am the voice for all women who don't have a voice or are not allowed a voice. Next week it will be 5 years since I was released from prison. And I am going to Washington to remind people that the women in prison are just every other woman, mother, daughter, sister. But over 90% of women who are incarcerated are also victims of sexual violence. We have to talk about women and violence. Our very humanity is on the line."
"People don't see prison as a woman's issue. They also don't see the oppression that women experience in prison and that women experience as leaders of criminal justice reform. I was in prison from 18-23 years of age. If I hadn't had this experience I may not have found my strength. I don't regret going to prison, because of prison I am going to change the world." - Kayla Gerdes is an advocate with LifetoLife LLC and a council member of the National Council For Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls. Kayla is also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
"When I was a sex worker, I was outed by Governor Chris Christie and the NJ District Attorney. They accused me of being a Madam and published a map to my home. It was terrifying - but because of that experience I am a formerly incarcerated sex worker and a role model and spokesperson for not just the Trans community but for all women." - Ceyenne Doroshow is the author of "Cooking in Heels" which she published with the help of the Red Umbrella Project.