HUMAN RIGHTS INITIATIVE’S 2016 ANGEL OF FREEDOM AWARDS
Dallas, Texas (November 10, 2016) – Human Rights Initiative of North Texas (HRI), a nonprofit agency in Dallas, has announced the recipients of their prestigious 2016 Angel of Freedom Awards: Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, InterNations Dallas Volunteer Group, and John Schwartz. The awards will be presented at the HRI Thanksgiving Event on Tuesday, November 15th at Sidley Austin.
These three recipients have made significant contributions, enabling HRI to better serve its clients and to advance the organization’s mission. The generosity of these award-winners has made a profound difference in the lives of many immigrants living in North Texas.
Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP
For many years, Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP has been an important pro bono partner with HRI. In early 2015, Gardere’s Dallas office reached out to HRI to see how they can help serve the hundreds of Central American unaccompanied minors who were being relocated in the North Texas area. HRI was overwhelmed by the number of children who needed legal representation, and Gardere was one of the major pro bono players in helping us serve this vulnerable population. In the last two years, Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP has donated hundreds of hours to HRI clients and we are so grateful.
Beverly B. Godbey, HRI volunteer and partner at Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP says, “When we heard about the hundreds of unaccompanied minors streaming into Texas from Central America, Gardere decided to take on their representation as a firm-wide pro bono project. HRI generously provided the training, guidance, forms, professional assistance and mentoring to help us rescue dozens of children, some as young as three years old. HRI’s work is life-changing, and Gardere is thrilled and honored to receive this amazing award, but the real winners are the children.”
InterNations Dallas Volunteer Group
InterNations is the largest international community for people who live and work abroad. InterNations Dallas is comprised of over 6,000 expats, 500 of which belong to their Volunteer Group. In 2013, Human Rights Initiative officially became a non-profit partner of InterNations Dallas Volunteer Group. Since then, this group has organized multiple fundraisers, clothing and toiletry drives, employment workshops, and holiday parties for our clients. The InterNations Dallas Volunteer Group pours their heart into each of these projects, tailoring each to fit the needs of our clients and best serve our agency. We are so grateful for their passion and their commitment to the clients of HRI.
“By orchestrating over $4.7M of pro-bono legal support each year, assisting over 550 individual clients annually through the multi-year immigration process, and providing all its services for free, HRI continues to make a very significant difference in the lives of foreigners who are fleeing violence and seeking safety through legal immigrant protections here in Dallas. The InterNations Dallas Volunteer Group would like to thank HRI for this award and for the opportunity it provides to offer our international members the ability to support a cause that is dear to our hearts being also away from our homelands. InterNations Dallas feels privileged to partner with HRI and is humbled to be a recipient of the Angel of Freedom award.” states the InterNations Dallas Volunteer Group Consul/Leadership team.
John Schwartz began his volunteer work with Human Rights Initiative in 2007. In that time John, senior counsel at Norton Rose Fulbright, has represented multiple asylum seekers from countries like Nepal, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Pakistan. In the past nine years, John has donated nearly 1,000 hours to HRI clients. His dedication to asylum-seekers and HRI is unparalleled. Thank you John.
Jonathan Skidmore, partner –in-charge at Norton Rose Fulbright’s Dallas Office, was thrilled to hear about John’s Angel of Freedom Award. He stated, “We are very proud of John’s work with Human Rights Initiative and his remarkable effort on behalf of those in need of asylum assistance. Like many of our lawyers, John realizes that without the assistance of volunteer attorneys, HRI’s clients will face almost certain persecution or worse in their home countries. Norton Rose Fulbright attorneys like John are privileged to be able to use their knowledge and skills where we can make a meaningful difference. Thank you for recognizing John’s contributions.”
Underwriters for the event include: AT&T, Bell Nunnally & Martin LLP, Gibson Dunn Crutcher, Gruber Elrod Johansen Hail Shank LLP, Elise Healy & Associates, Greg Curry, SMU Legal Clinics and Steve Ladik.
About Human Rights Initiative
Human Rights Initiative (HRI) is a nonprofit providing 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.