The framework of transitional justice ‘from below’ is often used to explore perspectives where victims are addressed as subjects with their own agency and organizational capability in temporal and normative aspects. Using qualitative research techniques to analyse victims’ organizations in Colombia, this article establishes the notion of recognition as crucial to comprehending ‘from below’ perspectives of transitional justice. It explores the cases of the Never Again Museum and the Trails for Life and Reconciliation in Eastern Antioquia. It examines victims’ efforts to create processes of ‘democratization of pain’ (the transformation of personal experiences of loss into common public knowledge) as expressions of recognition. The article’s main contribution rests in the idea that by scrutinizing victims’ initiatives as expressions of recognition, the normative idea of transitional justice ‘from below’ can be reinvigorated. It demonstrates that the concept of transitional justice ‘from below’ constitutes an abstract ideal that needs to be redefined by bringing into consideration the function and particularities of victims’ grassroots activism.