"From Pit To Freedom!"
Pride In Truth is a new 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
Founder & Executive Leader
Maria Casillas 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 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.
She is a Board Member of the Youth Justice Coalition.
As Executive Leader, She guides the focus and strategy of PIT to center those most impacted by unjust systems.