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.
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.
Heidi Rummel is a Clinical Professor of Law at the USC Gould School of Law where she co-directs the Post-Conviction Justice Project. Under her supervision, second and third-year law students represent California life-term inmates, primarily women and youth offenders. The Project has won the release of nearly 150 clients through the parole process and on habeas corpus.
Prof. Rummel has worked to pass a lengthy list of recent legislative reforms in California, including creating a process for juveniles sentenced to life without parole to petition for a re-sentencing hearing or parole consideration (SB 9 and SB 394); creating the Youth Offender Parole Hearing process (SB 260, SB 261 and AB 1308); revising the fitness criteria for juveniles to be transferred to adult court (SB 382); requiring attorney consultations for juveniles prior to waiving their Miranda rights (SB 395); reforming the felony murder rule (SB 1437); and precluding the transfer of 14/15 year old to adult court (SB 1391).
Prof. Rummel served in the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles from 1996-2005 where she prosecuted federal criminal civil rights offenses and served as deputy chief in the General Crimes Section. Previously, Rummel was an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia where she handled state court prosecutions and appellate matters.
Prof. Rummel holds a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with highest honors and a JD from the University of Chicago with honors. She clerked for the Honorable Thomas Penfield Jackson of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.