For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Kavita Khandekar
Marketing and Development Director
(May 29, 2013) – DALLAS – Human Rights Initiative of North Texas (HRI) has been recognized by the Women and Law Section of the State Bar of Texas for their work in contributing to the advancement of women in the legal profession and the community. The award is given to an individual or organization that has contributed to the furtherance of justice in our society by addressing the needs and issues of women in the community. Last year HRI’s all-female team of attorneys helped nearly 200 immigrant women in the Dallas/ Fort Worth Area access affordable legal representation through our William O. Holston Volunteer Attorney Program.
HRI is the first recipient of the newly named Louise B. Raggio Award (previously titled Ma’at Justice Award) and the first time HRI has received this honor. Ms. Raggio was a legendary Dallas attorney. HRI is honored to receive the 2013 Louise B. Raggio Award on Thursday, June 20th as part of the State Bar’s Annual Meeting in Dallas.
“We are privileged here at HRI to have three women attorneys who are fierce advocates for women,” says Bill Holston, Executive Director of HRI. “Chris Mansour, Melissa Weaver and Martha Gonzalez are the consummate professionals. They are compassionate and fearless advocates for our clients. Whether it is a young woman escaping the bonds of domestic violence or a woman from Africa seeking refuge from female genital mutilation, our lawyers are passionate advocates for our clients’ fight to begin a new life in America.”
Human Rights Initiative’s clients come to the United States to escape religious and political persecution. Many are victims of violent crime, human trafficking, domestic violence, and torture as well. HRI provides programs to help their clients face and navigate immense challenges as they seek refuge in the United States.
Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to refugees and immigrants in the North Texas area who are survivors of human rights abuses. It was founded in 1999 by attorney Betsy Healy and social worker Serena Simmons Connelly.
HRI provides services to clients through two main programs: the Asylum Program and the Women and Children’s Program. The Asylum Program assists refugees who have fled to the United States because of past persecution, or the fear of persecution based on one of the five protected grounds (race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group). The Women and Children’s Program helps indigent immigrant men, women and children who are the victims of violence and/or abuse and neglect.
The State Bar of Texas is an administrative agency of the Supreme Court of Texas that provides educational programs for the legal profession and the public, administers the minimum continuing legal education program for attorneys, and manages the attorney discipline system.