How were you called to do this work?
When I was a teenager, my uncle was kidnapped which shaped how I see the world. It made me think: Why do these kidnappers exist? What have we done wrong as a society that people think it’s okay to take someone’s life into their hands and trade them for money? It was an “aha moment” that changed how I look at social justice.
Since then I’ve had the privilege — and it’s definitely a privilege — to have the time to find my passion. I work in what I love, which is a huge part of being good at what I do.
From there, you went to work for the police — first as a negotiator and then in the anti-kidnapping division. What did that teach you?
It taught me a lot of compassion. I visited 138 prisons and walked the halls myself. I learned that no one is born an aggressor or violent person. No one is born a criminal.
I would never justify a crime, but it’s interesting to learn about the background of the people in prison — the circumstances that led them to commit a crime. Justice has to do with a co-responsibility where no one is left behind, starting with victims and survivors and following with aggressors. We have to recognize people who commit crimes as a societal failure, and we are all a part of that failure.