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Our Mission

"From Pit To Freedom!"

Pride In Truth is a nonprofit in the communities of Los Angeles.

Our mission is to strengthen and heal our communities in a meaningful way. We walk with the youth and incarcerated people by welcoming them back into society with reentry services and educating them on a pathway of leadership for their own communities.



Our goal is to support those exiting incarceration with a successful reintegration back into society, where they are safe to speak their truth and turn their experiences into power to generate positive changes. 

We envision a world where youth are supported in their community to be their full selves and are not incarcerated as a means of punishment.


Quetzal, Our Spirit Guide

The Quetzal is a vibrantly colorful bird native to the Guatemala region. Its name has its roots in Nahuatl, an indigenous language spoken throughout Mexico and Central America, and means tailed feather. 


The Quetzal bird was the spirit guide of Tecun Uman, a warrior who was the last ruler of the Mayan people before being slain by a Spanish conquistador. Legend has it that when Uman was slain, the Quetzal flew down and landed on Uman, dipping its chest in the warrior prince’s blood, giving it its distinctive red chest colors. 


The Quetzal is a divine symbol that represents freedom and our connection to our ancestry. Ancient people believed the Quetzal would not survive in captivity, it would rather die than be held prisoner. It is for this reason that we hold the Quetzal as our symbol and spiritual guide.

Like the Quetzal, we seek a life of freedom from captivity. 


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.

"As long as there is Breath,
There is Hope."

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