Our History

Healing to Action grew out of the Coalition Against Workplace Sexual Violence, a cross movement collaboration uniting Chicago’s labor and anti-violence movements to address sexual violence against low-wage workers.  Founded in 2012, the Coalition trained hundreds of low-wage workers in the Midwest, and organized survivor agencies behind worker-led campaigns like the Illinois Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. 


Workers participating in Coalition activities voiced the need for a worker-led, multicultural, cross-industry response to prevent gender-based violence in their communities.  In 2016, Healing to Action formed in response to this call to action.  It soon released “Digging Deep Into Our Movements: Strategies to Stop Gender-based Violence Against Chicago’s Low-wage Workers.” This groundbreaking report detailed gaps in services and potential innovative strategies address gender-based violence against low-wage workers. 


Today, Healing to Action continues to respond to the broader and ongoing demand of survivors to address the root causes of gender-based violence, including economic inequity, racial injustice, ableism, and heteropatriarchy.

Our Impact

Since 2016:

  • HTA collaborated with over 500 workers to deepen their political education and develop new strategies to end gender-based violence in their communities.

  • 94% of leaders successfully completed HTA’s flagship leadership program

  • HTA leaders launched their first grassroots campaign, SexEd Works, to address the root causes of gender-based violence

Our Board




Jasmine Benjamin




Erika Chavez



Amanda DePalma Gable




Darci Flynn




Aneesha Gandhi, Secretary




Anne Gottschalk




Michael Kiser




Samantha Lee




Gillian Shapiro, Treasurer




Emily Werth, President

Karla Altmayer

she/her(s) or they/them/their(s)

Co-founder, Co-director

Raised on Chicago’s Southside by a single-mother from Mexico, Karla is driven by her family’s experience with poverty, sexual violence, racism, and incarceration to dismantle the cultural conditions enabling gender-based violence. As an attorney, she developed an innovative and nationally recognized promotora model so survivors could organize and build solidarity. As co-director of Healing to Action, Karla continues to collaborate with survivors, building their individual and collective power.

Our Staff

Sheerine Alemzadeh


Co-founder, Co-director

The proud daughter of Iranian immigrants, Sheerine works to transform responses to gender-based violence in marginalized communities as an activist, litigator, thought leader, and organizer.

Her career has focused on building bridges between social movements, applying intersectional approaches to human rights activism, and promoting shared leadership as a path to sustained social progress. 

©2021 by Healing to Action. Healing to Action is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization