Target: John Ellis Jr., Texas BAR Foundation
Goal: Increase funding and influence for Human Rights Initiative of North Texas
The Human Rights Initiative (HRI) is a non-profit organization providing free legal services to those who have suffered human rights abuses. There are multiple HRI outposts in the United States, but the North Texas chapter in Dallas stands as one of the largest and most active. Keep this legal lifeline sturdy by encouraging the Texas BAR Foundation to donate to its cause.
“Protect those who cannot protect themselves.” This could easily be the mission statement of the Human Rights Initiative, and the organization’s Dallas branch is an excellent example why. Led by veteran attorney Bill Holston, HRI of North Texas has been fighting legal battles for the basic rights of people all around the world since its inception in 2000. In 2012, the program accepted an award for “Best Pro Bono Program by the State Bar of Texas” in observation of over two million dollars in legal services that its volunteer attorneys donated the year before.
In a recent “Culture Map Dallas” article by Claire St. Amant, Holston recalls a memorable case. “An Ethiopian pro-democracy activist who was also a teacher was at school when armed men came in and arrested him,” remembered the philanthropic attorney. “He went to jail — no trial, no charges — for five years. After he was released, he was arrested and beaten several more times before he lost his job and started driving a bus. The government found out and seized his bus, so he had no way left to making a living. That’s when he finally left Ethiopia to seek asylum in the U.S.”
The Ethiopian activist never would have been allowed freedom in the States without the help of HRI. The organization’s clients include all kinds of US immigrants – often fleeing countries where they were imprisoned and tortured for their religious beliefs and political opinions. The one thing in common between the abused women, jailed activists, abandoned children, casualties of human trafficking, and other victims is that they cannot afford to take their cases to court.
Volunteer organizations like HRI of North Texas are often the only thing standing between right and wrong for people who don’t have the money to pay America’s expensive attorneys and cover court fees. These people deserve protection, and in order for them to get it, providers like HRI must be supported. Sign this petition and urge the Texas BAR Foundation to offer a grant to HRI of North Texas.
Dear John Ellis Jr.,
The state of Texas is home to one of the most vital and prestigious philanthropic legal service providers in the country. The Human Rights Initiative (HRI) of North Texas has been offering pro bono legal services to US immigrants for twelve years.
Situated near the U.S.-Mexico border and boasting a strong team of volunteer attorneys, HRI of North Texas is in an excellent position to offer legal aid to immigrants. Often fleeing countries where they were imprisoned and tortured for their religious beliefs and political opinions, HRI’s clients are innocent victims of human rights violations that deserve legal protection.
In 2012, the program accepted an award for “Best Pro Bono Program by the State Bar of Texas” in observation of over two million dollars in legal services that volunteer attorneys donated the year before. I urge you – and the Texas BAR Foundation – to lend a hand in support of this effort. Keep HRI’s tradition of altruism alive and offer a grant to HRI of North Texas.
[Your Name Here]