Gerald Gray

Ashoka Fellow
Santa Clara, United States
Fellow Since 2005
My work: Creating a culture of zero tolerance for torturers and perpetrators of human rights crimes.


This profile was prepared when Gerald Gray was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2005.
The New Idea
Because there is no national system in the United States to find torturers and bring them to account, victims sometimes encounter their torturers in their own communities. These traumatic experiences are heightened by the awareness that the torturers are unlikely to be arrested or tried; when these encounters occur, it is often the victim who has to flee to seek sanctuary. Jerry Gray believes America can do better than that; he plans to create an anti-impunity culture in the U.S. through an interconnected set of projects in law, psychology, journalism, investigation, research, education, and policy development.
His idea is to use political torture as the organizing focus to create a sufficient public conscience about impunity so there is continuing public and private action against and zero tolerance for human rights crimes. Jerry aims to include elements of legal action in and beyond the U.S., investigative tracking of perpetrators, clinical action, public and academic education, and Congressional education. His program will also include clinical support for the professionals who work with survivors of torture during difficult, protracted legal proceedings. This idea is being planned or carried out in the U.S. and internationally, both with the intention to create a public conscience, and with the particular combination of elements that Jerry will use.
This coordinated, national effort aims to affect refugee victims in the U.S., victims at war crimes tribunals, and individuals and communities who are adversely affected or put at risk by current U.S. foreign policy. It will influence policy changes in the U.S., and in the countries of victims. (A recent U.S. trial against a murderer of Archbishop Romero, the first ever, reopened the question of military impunity in El Salvador). Jerry’s idea will create a more civil, empathetic society and set a high standard for the world and the U.S. government by demonstrating that torture will not be tolerated in America.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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