DALLAS – Human Rights Initiative of North Texas (HRI) is honoring this year’s prestigious Angel of Freedom award winners, at its annual storytelling event, Stories Form the HeART: Rock Your HeART Out. HRI’s annual Angel of Freedom award, celebrates the unsung heroes of human rights work in Dallas. This year’s awardees are Dora Dowell, a domestic violence advocate; the G. Rollie White Trust, which has invested in critical legal work; and The Giving Fridge, which partners with organizations to provide convenient access to grab-and-go grocery items to those in need.
“We are all EQUAL,” said Dora Dowell. “When our administrations first allowed many immigrants and refugees to come into the United States, we became the melting pot as we learned about people, different cultures. So many people forget how vital it is to allow immigrants and refugees to come into our wonderful country.” Dora’s work includes collecting evidence required for our client cases. “My ‘aha moment’ working with HRI came, when I realized the importance of documentation and the complicated procedures that can be extremely stressful for vulnerable migrants. ‘Calling in favors’ is how I started. I feel that networking with other agencies and entities is so important.”
Over the past 21 years, HRI has provided legal and critical social services for asylum seekers fleeing human rights abuses, unaccompanied immigrant children, and survivors of serious crimes who qualify for status under the Violence Against Women Act and U Visa programs.
“Historically, the G. Rollie White Trust had not been involved in the immigration sector but by the summer of 2019, the Trump administration’s continuing attack on the rule of law in immigration caused me to conclude it was an area that needed attention,” Bart Wullf of G. Rollie White Trust observed. “The grants we have funded for HRI since creating the Advocacy program at HRI, have all followed the same pattern: we identify a position that HRI is confident is needed to improve its services to its clients, but which has no track record and no obvious source of funding. Our hope is that by supporting the establishment of these positions we will not just fill the immediate need but lay the groundwork for a permanent expansion of the services HRI can provide.”
HRI is a volunteer-powered operation. During the last fiscal year, HRI served its over 600 clients with the help of 310 pro bono attorneys and 104 non-attorney volunteers, who collectively donated over 9,000 hours, valued at approximately $2.4 million.
“Asking for food can be an uncomfortable situation. At The Giving Fridge, we strive to maintain a sense of anonymity for our families and individuals,” noted Adeeb Masood of The Giving Fridge. “Furthermore, we want to increase the ease of access for people who receive the food. Community organizations like HRI are a place where clients and organization come together and can achieve this purpose.”
About Human Rights Initiative of North Texas
For over 20 years, Human Rights Initiative of North Texas has provided legal and critical social services for immigrant survivors of human rights abuses from all over the world. For more information, visit www.hrionline.org. RYHO21 press release here.