Healing Dialogue and Action brings together people wounded by violence and broken criminal justice systems. We share our stories and listen deeply with open hearts. We respond with compassion and accompany each other in healing the harm caused by violent crime. We work together to change the criminal justice system so it is one that respects and offers an opportunity for transformation for victims, offenders, and families. We are creating a world free from violence.
Healing Dialogue and Action envisions a world free from violence.
- We recognize the pain and suffering of victims, and honor the fact that they had no say in their victimization.
- We believe each victim and victim family member is entitled to control his or her own process of healing.
- We recognize that many offenders have suffered trauma and violence.
- We believe that healing and strength can come through listening to each other’s experiences, responding with respect and compassion, and being open to crossing false divides.
- We believe real change in criminal justice systems will come through the leadership of those whose lives have been affected by violence and criminal justice systems.
- We seek to create systems that provide healing to victims, accountability for offenders, and justice for both.
- We seek to create systems that offer offenders meaningful opportunities for healing, growth, and to repair the harm caused by violence.
- We seek to create systems that address the causes of violence in our communities.
Javier is a founding member of Healing Dialogue and Action who has spent his entire career accompanying young people in the juvenile justice system, survivors of crime, and families of both. Prior to joining HDA, Javier served as the Co-Director of the Office of Restorative Justice of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles from 1992-2015, where he oversaw the largest Catholic detention ministry program in the nation, as well as the ORJ victim’s ministry. He is committed to the radical transformation of the juvenile and criminal justice systems. He believes in the principles of restorative justice which call for reconciliation and healing of victims, offenders and communities. Javier has received international recognition for his life’s work, including being commended in Sweden by the World’s Children’s Prize for his advocacy work with incarcerated youth and victims of crime. He is also the first United States citizen to receive the international award from Human Right Watch.
Rebecca Weiker, MPH, is a founding member of Healing Dialogue and Action and is dedicated to creating opportunities for healing for individuals, families and communities impacted by violence. Rebecca’s work in Restorative Justice is rooted in her longstanding commitment to social justice, and as well as her personal history; her beloved sister Wendy was murdered in 1992. Rebecca has a Masters in Public Heath, (Child and Family Health concentration) from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and has completed training through Insight Prison Project to conduct Victim Offender Education Groups and Victim Offender Dialogues. She received her parent educator certification from The Center for Nonviolent Education and Parenting, is a certified mediator, and has taken courses in Mindfulness and Mindful Self-Compassion through Insight LA. She lives with her husband Sean, and her two best teachers, her sons Ezra (17) and Leo (13), in Los Angeles.
Sara Kruzan demonstrates a clear vision of what remarkable healing and rehabilitation looks like. A former life without parole offender sentenced at sixteen, Sara’s intimate knowledge of the justice system was honed during her nearly twenty-year prison sentence, and her Supreme Court appeal process. Sara builds healing bridges between crime survivors and offenders. She meets with those who are incarcerated, offering unconditional love and support. To the legislators she engages at local, state, and highest federal levels, she offers insight and knowledge on judicial reform. Sara’s knowledge is shared with parole board officers across the country. She shares her knowledge of law-changing research, citing the immature nature of a child’s brain and their increased capacity for change. Sara speaks to attorneys about communication with youth offenders, as she understands the terror of not understanding. Sara interviews juvenile lifers in prison, and brings their stories to national television.
Brenda Ramirez, has worked as an advocate for families impacted by violence since 2009. In the year 2000 her 16 year old brother was arrested and later sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. This event lead her to become actively involved with CARES for Youth, an organization that advocates for people sentenced as youth to adult prison sentences. Through this work she also met with families who have suffered the murder of a family member, and came to understand the healing power of bringing people from these two experiences together. Sharing her story and listening to people wounded by violence in her community has been a central part of her healing journey, and is the foundation of her commitment to restorative justice. Her faith in God has been the rock in her life. She lives with her husband Angel and considers her 3 children the greatest gift she has ever received in life.
Program Organizer, Outreach to Spanish Speakers
Juana Bonilla Lost her daughter and granddaughter in a tragedy in 2010.
The empathy she felt for the family of the person who was responsible lead her to support groups, where she shared her experience with families who lost love ones to violence as well as families who lost loved ones to incarceration as juveniles. She believes that a dialogue is the central path towards healing.
Her primary desire is to accompany families who suffer very painful experiences with a heart filled with empathy in hopes they find healing.
She lives with her husband and her greatest strength are her four children.