Donna Hylton

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biography

Donna Hylton has been deeply involved in movements for social justice around the country. She draws upon her experience imprisoned in a women's correctional facility for 27 years, with some of that time spent in solitary confinement. Now released, Donna emphasizes the importance of building communities through economic, racial and gender justice. Donna encourages systems to recognize how the trauma of sexual violence and abuse are often root causes that result in victimization and that 90% of women who have been abused are being incarcerated, especially women of color.

Donna is a founding member of From Life to Life, a national initiative dedicated to the dismantling of the prison industrial complex. She is especially concerned with the general tendency to devote more resources and attention to a prison system that preys upon the weak and victimized; she urges communities to think seriously about the school to prison pipelines.

Donna is a key member of the Correctional Association’s “Violence Against Women Committee on the Inside”.  During her incarceration, Donna earned an Associate of Science degree, a Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioral Sciences with a concentration in Social Psychology and a Master’s of Arts degree in English Literature from Mercy College. Donna is also an advisory committee member for the New York Women’s Bar Association’s Parole Prep Project, a 2015 JustleadershipUSA Fellow, a key member of the Women and Justice Project that is “reimagining” the former Bayview Correctional facility into a Women’s Resource Building and, a Board Member of the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund. Donna currently serves as Director of the Women and Girls Project at Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice, and as an advisory Board Member of Harry Belafonte’s Sankofa Organization. She is also the author of her memoir “A Little Piece of Light” published by Hachette Books in June 2018.  Rosario Dawson is set to play activist Donna Hylton in a feature film based on the biography “A Little Piece Of Light”.