David Leamsi Cruz’s life is a testament to the transformative power of advocacy and community building. Despite facing numerous challenges, including his incarceration as a youth offender for 13 years, David has dedicated his life to fighting for fairness and justice for incarcerated people.
David is a community organizer and policy advocate. Born in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, David moved to California at the age of 17, where he became involved in community organizing and advocacy.
In 2009, David was arrested as a Youth Offender, and he spent his time in prison advocating for criminal justice reform and fighting for the rights of incarcerated people. He became an Inside Organizer with Initiate Justice in 2018, where he worked to build a movement of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people fighting for social and criminal justice reform.
David’s story of advocacy is an amazing example not only to those close to him but also to other inmates looking to follow similar steps. Advocacy is not just about lending your voice to those who need to be heard, but also to do the hard work it takes to get noticed and get more people to join you in your mission
Working for the community, with the community
Retraining the Village (RTV), a non-profit organization that helps formerly incarcerated people reintegrate into society, has been instrumental in providing support and resources to David during his time in prison. After spending 13 years in jail, he entered RTV in October 2022 and is currently on parole as part of the program.
Through his work with Initiate Justice and activism, David has become a powerful voice for incarcerated people and an inspiration to many. RTV has helped him by providing access to educational and vocational training programs, counseling, and mentorship. These resources have helped him to develop new skills, build his self-confidence, and prepare for a successful re-entrance into society.
David’s story is a powerful reminder of the importance of criminal justice reform and the need for support and resources for formerly incarcerated people. RTV is doing vital work to help individuals like David break the cycle of recidivism and build a better future for themselves and their communities.
His story is one of many success stories that Retraining the Village has to offer. With kindness, dedication, and community support, we can continue to offer a hand up to those in need of a new beginning.