HRI Announces Its Annual Storytelling Event, Stories From the HeART: Rock Your HeART Out (RYHO), for October 17

DALLAS – Human Rights Initiative of North Texas (HRI), a Dallas-area non-profit organization, is announcing its 2020 RYHO roster, which includes 22 visual artists, 12 musicians and 9 poetry performers who are coming together for a free virtual event on October 17, 2020 from 6:00­–9:00 p.m. The evening of celebration will feature visual arts available for auction, music, poetry performances, mini-documentaries and a special tribute to HRI’s late co-founder, Serena Simmons Connelly.

“Every year, through Rock Your HeART Out, we celebrate our brave and resourceful clients,” said Bill Holston, HRI’s Executive Director. “I cannot wait to see it unfold, this year in its virtual format. This is the most diverse and international group of participants we’ve ever brought together. I assure you it will blow you away.”

Unprecedented times call for an unprecedented celebration. This year’s slate of generous visual artists and humanitarians donating their works to benefit HRI’s clients include: Viola Delgado, Sara Cardona, Maedeh Asgharpour, Daniel Avazpour, Vicki Meek, Marjaneh Goudarzi, Can Turkyilmaz, Nida Bangash, Ammaar Mufti, Leticia Alaniz, Manuel Pecina, Jessica Fuentes, Trevor Yokochi, Adnan Razvi, Analise Minjarez, Pouran Lashini, Samina Hooda, April Hopkins, Jimmie Hudson, Shafaq Ahmad, Alisa Eykilis and Ashling Han.

“Knowing this line up as I do—these proven artists and their works are all worthy investments not only for the execution of their craft, but for the heart-beat of shared experience spliced into the works,” said Greg Metz, Associate Professor Visual Arts /Studio Program and Gallery Director SP/N Gallery, University of Texas at Dallas. “I hope that those who win these works will also get to learn about and know these artists as they all have impacting stories of their own and have contributed in so many diverse ways to the North-Texas-and-beyond Art Scene. These artists are not just artists but dedicated advocates of cultural and humanitarian enlightenment.”  

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. HRI’s RYHO strives to create a dialogue regarding immigration in the community through works of visual, performance and musical arts. All proceeds support HRI’s mission to provide 100% free legal and social services to its clients.

RYHO is an evening for our community to celebrate together, virtually. Attendees will enjoy musical performances from the multi-talented Stefanie Tovar and Jamal Mohamed, Max Hartman & Friends, Denise Lee, and Kat Glaze and Thiago Nascimento, as well as poetry performances from the poets, actors and artists Dr. Sobia Khan, Ariana Cook, Anuja Ghimire, John M. Flores, Bahar Momeni, Frida Nayeli Espinosa Müller, Leah Haile and Faraz Maqsood Hamidi.

For more information about the event, visit

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

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