Each year Human Rights Initiative of North Texas recognizes two outstanding associates at the annual Pro Bono Awards, organized by the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program of the Dallas Bar Association. HRI’s success is contingent on the dedication, competence, and compassion of our volunteer attorneys, and this year’s recipients are brilliant examples of that fact. This year, HRI will honor the following attorneys for their outstanding pro bono contributions to our agency:
- Outstanding Associate, Asylum Program: Dionna J. A. Little. Dionna Little is an associate in the Dallas office of Jones Day. Last year she worked on 2 asylum cases for Human Rights Initiative, donating over 400 pro bono hours. She won asylum for a woman and her daughter from Egypt who were Coptic Christians persecuted for their faith. Dionna also represented a client from Eritrea who was granted asylum after he was imprisoned and tortured because the government did not like that he was associating with foreign organizations like the Red Cross. Dionna has also donated her time toward educational events for HRI, participating in our Human Rights Curriculum presentations in local schools and a panel discussion for the Dallas Holocaust Museum. It is because of her dedication to HRI and our clients that we award her Outstanding Associate in the Asylum Program.
- Outstanding Associate, Women & Children’s Program: Iain Wood & Julie Feldman. Iain Wood and Julie Feldman of Akin Gump worked on a case for a woman who had been the victim of domestic violence from Korea. The client is deaf and was only fluent in Korean Sign language. With the help of an American Sign Language interpreter they were able to effectively represent her in a petition to keep her safe from her abuser. Because of their dedication to HRI’s clients, HRI is awarding this year’s Outstanding Associate Award for the Women & Children’s Program to Ian and Julie.
Human Rights Initiative (HRI) is a nonprofit which provides free legal representation and social services to indigent victims of human rights abuses and to serve as a community resource on human rights issues. Human Rights Initiative’s clients include victims of human rights abuses seeking asylum in the United States, victims of human trafficking, victims of spousal or child abuse at the hands of a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident, men, women and children who are the victims of a violent crime, immigrant children who flee from violence and travel to the U.S. alone, or immigrant children that have been abused, abandoned or neglected by their parents in the U.S.