Human Rights Initiative of North Texas Announces Change in Leadership  


Maryam Baig


DALLAS, TX – Today, HRI announced that its Executive Director, Bill Holston, will be stepping down from his role after 11 years of dedicated and committed service to asylum seekers, refugees and the entire immigrant community of North Texas. This change corresponds with a succession plan initiated in collaboration with HRI’s Board of Directors.

Over the past decade, HRI executed a comprehensive strategic plan progressively doubling its operations in size, creating and expanding high-quality programs in Social Services and Advocacy, and attracting top talent for its legal and non-legal programs.

“Bill has led the organization through three Presidential administrations, increasing attacks on immigrant rights, and a global pandemic. Thanks to his leadership, HRI is a visible and respected source of vital services for vulnerable refugees in North Texas,” said Carolyn Ruiz, HRI Board President. “Bill has helped inform the general public about the contributions of new immigrant communities. I am most thankful that he will continue to support HRI and the new generation of leaders at the organization.”

HRI’s current Board of Directors will engage a national search firm in its process of selecting a new Executive Director, who they expect will contribute to HRI’s continued growth in the midst of the ever-changing immigration landscape.

A longtime volunteer pro bono lawyer since its founding in 2000, Bill was named HRI’s Executive Director in January 2012. After this transition, he will continue to support HRI as part of its Advisory Board.

“Leading HRI has been the highlight of my professional career so far. I know that our co-founder Serena Connelly would be very proud of the legacy which continues to grow, thanks to the dedicated team at HRI,” said Bill. “I leave this work in the extremely capable hands of our talented and dedicated staff and board.”

Holston will be moving on into a leadership position at Dallas Eviction Advocacy Center, a nonprofit organization recently founded by fellow HRI volunteer attorney, Mark Melton.

HRI’s Board expects to announce a new Executive Director by the fall.



For the past 22 years, HRI has provided legal and critical social services for courageous and resilient immigrant survivors of human rights abuses from all over the world. HRI has a budget of approximately $1.475M, funded primarily through private-sector giving.

We use the Consultation and Proximity (CAP) and MOCHA models for individual and programmatic decision-making. We conduct much of our organizational decision-making through staff-led committee recommendations and consensus processes, which often include thinking periods, opportunity for written comment, anonymous polling, and facilitated discussion. HRI is in the midst of an organizational transformation and growth process, which began in Spring 2021 with an all-staff participatory budgeting process and staff-led development of a transparent, equitable compensation structure. The organizational transformation and growth process continues in coming months as a strategic planning process and internally focused race equity work.


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