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About Us

In Memory of Gail Leland

In Memory of Gail Leland

Founder

After Gail Leland’s 14-year-old son, Richard, was murdered in 1981, she recognized the need for support for parents of murdered children. She founded the charter chapter of Parents of Murdered Children (POMC) in Tucson, Arizona, on February 19, 1982, which later became Homicide Survivors, Inc. Read more about Gail’s story here.

Meet The Team

James Gierke

James Gierke

Executive Director

In 1999,  James began his career in social work and worked with different victim service agencies in Tucson, Az. James is honored to work with an organization dedicated to advocacy, support, and assistance to family and friends who have lost a loved one to murder.

 Dennisse Ley

Dennisse Ley

Operations Manager | Victim Advocate

Born in Mexico to two parents that always encouraged her to help others, Dennisse became involved in community & social justice groups at a young age. Dennisse feels honored to work for HSI & hopes to grow & formalize our program to better serve families & friends of murder victims.

Sylvia Alvarez

Sylvia Alvarez

Victim Advocate

In 2015, Sylvia turned to HSI for emotional support after her son, Michael, was killed in a drunk driving crash on Valentine’s day. In September of 2017 she joined HSI as a Victim Advocate & finds helping survivors rewarding & comforting & healing for her during her ongoing grief.

Alexandra Gastelum

Alexandra Gastelum

Victim Advocate | Communications Manager

Alexandra is a certified Victim Advocate, experienced in working with survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking, and homicide co-victims. As a trauma-informed yoga instructor, she developed a curriculum for trauma-informed yoga for survivors of homicide victims. Alexandra manages strategic communications for Homicide Survivors, Inc. and is pursuing her J.D. at CUNY School of Law. 

Amy Gomez

Amy Gomez

Victim Advocate

Prior to joining Homicide Survivors in 2018, Amy Gomez spent most of her career working as an advocate for victims of domestic abuse. Amy’s primary focus at Homicide Survivors is supporting families and friends of homicide victims through the criminal justice process.

Brad Holland

Brad Holland

Victim's Counsel

At a young age, Brad grew a passion for music; at one point, he moved to Hollywood to become a star. However, he moved back to Tucson, where he pursued his law degree to impact his community. Today, he is pleased to act as Victim’s Counsel with Homicide Survivors and help in any way he can.

Paula Lopez

Paula Lopez

Victim Advocate | Marketing Strategist

Paula is a creative, driven, and solutions focused professional. She seeks innovative & dynamic approaches to developing and sustaining programs through technical assistance and support. Paula specializes in the non-profit sector, and is deeply committed to improving her community. She started with HSI in 2019 as an intern, & is excited to focus her full time efforts in support of survivors.
Daniela Muñoz-Alvarez

Daniela Muñoz-Alvarez

Victim Advocate

Within the last ten years, Daniela has dedicated her work towards understanding and addressing gender-based violence. As an HSI advocate, she hopes to combine her experience of serving different communities at the intersections of violence to provide compassionate support & advocacy on behalf of those who have survived the homicide of their most loved.

Narda Rivera

Narda Rivera

Victim Advocate

After almost 20 years of working as an advocate, Narda continues to be called to support survivors of violence. As a survivor, she understands the intersections and impacts that all forms of violence have on our communities. Narda is committed to organizing & working towards making systemic changes that will create a stronger, safer, equitable world for all.

Michelle Robinson

Michelle Robinson

Development Manager

In 2014, Michelle started working with victim advocate agencies throughout the Nation where she grew a passion to help others suffering pain, loss, & trauma. She dedicates her time volunteering & building community relationships. Michelle hopes to utilize her skills to continue to build partnerships within the state & expand HSI support services for all Survivors.
Paloma Sainz

Paloma Sainz

Victim Advocate

As a young child, Paloma saw the hardships, pain, & injustices that occur to individuals regarding things they have no control over, such as race, gender & religious associations. Wanting to change this, Paloma did everything she could to become a voice for the voiceless.

Lisa Spilsbury

Lisa Spilsbury

Bookkeeper

Lisa was raised in Tucson, and after traveling a bit, settled back to the town she loves. As a bookkeeper working behind the scenes, she finds it deeply gratifying to be helping the helpers. She is looking forward to growing and learning as the program grows.

Meet the board of directors

Luz de Vida Concert

Join us on November 6, 2021 for the Luz de Vida II Benefit Concert, a first annual celebration of life as part of the All Souls Procession Weekend. Featuring performances by  XIXA, Soda Sun, and Hannah Yeun,  all artists on the Luz de Vida II Compilation Album.