Who We Are
Maria C. Gonzalez
Founder & Executive Leader
Maria C. Gonzalez is a formerly incarcerated, first generation immigrant, former health care worker, and single mother. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico and as her family migrated to the Central Valley, she grew up experiencing life in a small, farm-working community.
Maria's parents brought her to the U.S. for a better life and she is still fighting to help people demand the equal rights they deserve.
She is a social justice advocate for the youth, incarcerated people, and all undocumented people.
As Executive Leader, she guides the focus and strategy of Pride In Truth to center those most impacted by unjust systems.
Maria displays leadership through life experiences. Maria has been working with communities that are system/direct impacted by incarceration. Maria experienced the oppression of marginalized communities and witnessed the harmful effects of a farm working family living in a farmworker’s community. Along with those challenges she has experienced the loss of loved ones due to gang and gun violence, causing Maria to learn to be on a survival mode instead of living. Maria had to endure the racism and challenges of being profiled as a brown immigrant female. The worst experience was losing her best friend Gilbert Braz due to gun violence in 1996. Life was never the same for Maria. She lived with anger, fear, resentment and loss and after many years Gilbert’s case went cold. After experiencing incarceration, loss of loved ones and now having two young adult sons, Maria took all her trauma and experience to empower youth. She followed her calling to become a leader in the communities of Los Angeles. Maria followed her grief from the loss of Gilbert and transformed that pain into healing. She created a space, where just maybe if that space of intervention existed when she was growing up, Gilbert might have still been alive today. Maria continues his legacy and helps our youth today with The Braz Project which became live in January of 2023. Maria has worked on policy advocacy, alternatives to incarceration diversion programs and provides support for communities impacted by incarceration.