Antoinette (Toni) Carter was born into poverty and struggle to a teenage mother, as a result of a brutal rape. Throughout her childhood, Toni endured her mother's drug and alcohol addiction, numerous arrests, and repeated incarceration which resulted in six prison terms. To cope with the trauma, Toni enveloped herself into her schoolwork and became an avid reader. Eventually, her mother, Susan Burton, would gain sobriety, and go on to found a non-profit called A New Way of Life Reentry Project (ANWOL), as well as pen a best-selling memoir, Becoming Ms. Burton, receiving a 2018 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work. This work details many of the struggles between an incarcerated parent and their child.
This struggle has allowed Toni to speak on behalf of incarcerated children nationwide and give them a voice to speak about their own strife of being unwillingly held captive within the justice system as well. Toni has gone on to speak at prisons, drug treatment facilities, and other venues, talking to parents about the direct affects of their incarceration on their children.