Donna Hylton

Founder, A Little Piece of Light

Grantee Cohort Spring 2020

Location New York City, NY

To read Donna Hylton’s life history as told in her recent memoir “A Little Piece of Light: A Memoir of Hope, Prison, and a Life Unbound” is to marvel at what she overcame: abandonment, rape and sexual abuse, imprisonment as an accessory to a murder, and 27 years in prison, with one year in solitary confinement. An ordained Christian minister, Donna earned a bachelor’s degree in behavioral sciences from Mercy College and a master’s degree in women’s studies and English literature from Marymount Manhattan College while incarcerated. Since returning home in 2012, Donna emerged as a formidable criminal justice advocate and tireless spokesperson on behalf of abused women and girls and the need for gender-informed trauma treatment and care.

Art for Justice is investing in Donna Hylton’s voice as a champion for greater harm reduction models within and outside of the criminal justice reform movement. Her new nonprofit A Little Piece of Light addresses the housing instability faced by women leaving incarceration and provides the support they need to heal from trauma, build self-esteem and obtain training and career opportunities.

Donna Hylton, founder of A Little Piece of Light, provides critical services for women formerly involved with the justice system and their families with domestic violence resources and grief and mental health support. As COVID-19 continues to disproportionately tear apart families of color, A Little Piece of Light is expanding its work to women who are currently in the justice system and those who are no longer justice involved but whose wellbeing has significantly deteriorated since the virus’ outbreak. In partnership with Shanice Figeroux, an artist who specializes in trauma, A Little Piece of Light will produce and distribute a therapeutic coloring book to enhance women’s lives during this unprecedented difficult time.