October 19 “Rock Your HeART Out Concert & Art Auction” Will Unveil New Works from 11 Visual Artists, including Tina Medina, Daniel Avazpour and Jessica Fuentes

October 2, 2019

Kali Cohn | kcohn@hrionline.org | 214-855-0520 x4338

Oak Cliff-based Visual Artist & Professor of Art Tina Medina and Dallas Percussionist & Acclaimed Educator Jamal Mohamed headline the event; proceeds benefit Human Rights Initiative of North Texas’s work mission to provide 100% free legal and social services to immigrant survivors of human rights abuses

DALLAS – Human Rights Initiative of North Texas (HRI) announces its fourth Annual Rock Your HeART Out Concert & Art Auction to take place on Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at Life in Deep Ellum (2803 Taylor St., Dallas, TX 75226). Rock Your HeART out is a unique night centered in Story: alongside live music, from Jamal Mohamed Ensemble and John Jaggers of Honey Creek, dancing and live storytelling, HRI will unveil brand-new works of art that interpret the journeys of former HRI clients.

Throughout August and September, 11 local artists teamed up with HRI clients to visually interpret their stories, celebrating their culture and honoring their perseverance. The all-star line-up of artists, who will unveil sculpture, painting, photography and other multimedia works, include: Tina MedinaAlisa EykilisApril HopkinsChristi NielsenDaniel AvazpourErica StephensJessica FuentesKimberly AlexanderLeticia AlanizLorraine Tady and Monika Bell. At the event, attendees will have the opportunity to bid to own these one-of-a-kind works.

“As an indigenous U.S. born woman with ancestry from Mexico I regularly contemplate the predicament of people of color in the United States. These contemplations have driven the themes for my art for a number of years,” said visual artist and HRI Storyteller Tina Medina. “When I was approached to contribute my time and efforts towards HRI’s Rock Your Heart Out Art benefit, it made complete sense to me to participate. This experience has been so eye opening for me because although I make artwork about current issues and the families affected, I was seeing their plight from a distance. Being able to talk with and hear the stories first hand from an individual helped me to see the unique individual-ness of the people we so often hear about. These individuals are human beings with unique needs, wants and desires. Making an artwork based on one person has challenged me as an artist to delve deeper into the stories and voices I am more determined to represent.”

HRI’s courageous and resilient clients have come to the U.S. from all over the world to seek safety from persecution, torture, domestic violence and abuse. All proceeds from the event support HRI’s mission to provide 100% free legal and social services to its clients. Tickets, which include an open beer and wine bar, are available from $25 to $60 through Eventbrite at bit.ly/2o22cws.

I’ve seen many of these stories depicted through some amazing art, I feel so many human emotions: pride, joy, elation, success, perseverance!” said HRI Board Chair Sanjeeb Samanta. “Last year, HRI helped almost 700 clients with legal services and over 1100 clients with social services. Joining us at Rock Your HeART Out is an important way that anyone can contribute to this critical work.”

During the event, Dallas filmmaker and photographer Christian Vasquez will premier three original mini-documentaries that chronicle the collaborative journeys of HRI artist-client teams. A VIP reception ($60) beginning at 7 p.m. will give guests the opportunity to meet Rock Your HeART Out’s artists over hors d’oeuvres and stories from the women of Break Bread, Break Borders, a catering initiative operated by refugee and immigrant women in Dallas.

A piece from RHYO 2018: Premium Bananas by Daniel Avazpour: J’s story as a DACA dreamer who came here from El Salvador at age 7 with his 13 year old brother to join his mother and escape the gang violence that had plagued his country. Their alcoholic-abusive father had abandoned them, leaving them vulnerable to gangs, violence and death threats. The brave three took refuge in a banana truck and journeyed for days before arriving at the border of the U.S. They were separated, detained and put in windowless rooms where they had no idea what had become of each other.

Jamal Mohamed Ensemble

About Human Rights Initiative of North Texas

Founded by social worker Serena Simmons Connelly and lawyer Elizabeth Healy, the Dallas-based Human Rights Initiative of North Texas has grown into an award-winning agency helping immigrant survivors of human rights abuses from all over the world. Our courageous and resilient clients are eligible to apply for legal status under the humanitarian provisions of United States immigration laws and policies: they are asylum seekers fleeing persecution; children who have been abandoned, abused, and neglected; and victims of family violence and violent crimes. HRI’s Legal team partners with a network of over 250 pro bono attorneys from top DFW firms and corporations to help clients access the U.S. immigration system, and our Social Services team offers transitional support and referrals to help address trauma and ease the hardships of profound displacement. At HRI, all of our services are free, and all are designed to help forge a path to safety, stability and opportunity. For more information, visit www.hrionline.org.


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