Contact: Kavita Khandekar Chopra
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HUMAN RIGHTS INITIATIVE’S 15th ANNIVERSARY AND 2015 ANGEL OF FREEEDOM AWARDS
DALLAS, Sept., 23, 2015 — Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, a nonprofit agency in Dallas, celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. HRI has also announced the recipients of its prestigious 2015 Angel of Freedom Awards: Evan Tilton, Hassan A. Bisilongo, and Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP. The awards will be presented at the HRI Quinceanera celebration, our own “coming-of-age” party on October 03, 2015 at the Dallas Arboretum from 11AM – 1PM.
About the event
2015 marks Human Rights Initiative’s 15th anniversary. As we reflect on 15 years of service to survivors of violence, we can’t help but be proud of how far we have come. Latina girls often celebrate this coming-of-age with a big celebration (similar to a Sweet Sixteen) called a Quinceañera. Taking from this idea, HRI is celebrating our own “coming-of-age” with a Quinceanera party. More information about the event and ticket purchasing can be found at http://www.hrionline.org/celebrate15/.
2015 Angel of Freedom Award Recipients:
Evan Tilton is Of Counsel in Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher’s Dallas office. Tilton currently practices in the firm’s Litigation Department with an emphasis on White Collar Defense and Investigations. Tilton has been a volunteer with HRI’s Asylum Program since 2008 and has helped secure religious asylum for an Egyptian Coptic Christian, political asylum for a native of Rwanda, two natives of Cameroon, and a native of Nigeria, and withholding of removal for a mentally ill permanent resident from India. His dedication to HRI and his pro bono clients goes above and beyond the average. Tilton often stays in touch with his former clients, inviting them to dinners with his family and taking them to special events. Tilton is also a generous financial sponsor of HRI’s work and sat on HRI’s Pro Bono Committee for several years.
Hassan A. Bisilongo
Hassan A. Bisilongo fled to the United States in 2010 after being subjected to unjust and severe persecution in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2009, Bisilongo was summoned by the Special Services police and interrogated and accused of being a political opponent of the government in power. In the weeks following his summons, Hassan began to receive daily death threats toward him, his wife, and two young sons. In 2010, masked intruders wielding guns and machetes attacked Bisilongo and his family in their own home. Hassan was beaten, threatened with gunfire, and restrained. Thankfully, they were able to flee the attack and safely flee the country to the United States. Through the help of Human Rights Initiative, Hassan and his family were able to attain Asylum status to remain in the U.S. and build a new, safe life.
For the last four years, Bisilongo has been an outstanding volunteer for HRI. He often makes himself available to help us with our Human Rights Curriculum or other speaking engagements where he is asked to talk about his life in DRC and how he fled to the United States. Over time, Bisilongo has become a great spokesperson for HRI, helping carry our mission further and further each day.
Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP
Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP is the world’s leading provider of immigration services. Immigration is not just one of many practices within their firm – it is their sole focus. In the second half of 2014, Fragomen Worldwide implemented a requirement that all U.S. attorneys provide a minimum of 50 hours of pro bono work annually – a policy that has been extremely beneficial to HRI. Fragomen’s local Dallas office began working with HRI at the start of 2014 providing representation to clients in all of our programs. Fragomen’s support of Human Rights Initiative goes beyond pro bono services – the firm has also become a large financial sponsor of our annual events.
Underwriters for the event include: Locke Lord LLP; Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP; Archer & Greiner P.C; Vinson & Elkins LLP; Baker & McKenzie; Andrews Kurth LLP; Encore Wire Co; KFC Co; Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP; Baker Botts LLP; Westwood Trust Co; Thompson & Knight LLP; Haynes and Boone, LLP; Perkins Coie LLP; Barbara Kennedy and Jeff Kaplan; J.P Morgan Co; Holland & Knight LLP.
Human Rights Initiative (HRI) is a nonprofit that 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.