Meet the Staff

THe HRI TEAM

Bill Holston – Executive Director

Kavita Khandekar Chopra– Deputy Director

Sara Wahl – Attorney, Crime Victims Program

Marcela D. Evans – Attorney, Immigrant Children’s Project

PILAR FERGUSON – Attorney, Asylum Program

Zainab Ellis – Social Services Director

Elisandra De la Cruz – IMMIGRANT CHILDREN’S PROGRAM CASE MANAGER

Kristina Morales –  CASE MANAGEMENT COORDINATOR & LEGAL ASSISTANT

Zeyla Gonzalez – CASE MANAGEMENT COORDINATOR & Legal Assistant

CAROLINA PINA – CASE MANAGEMENT COORDINATOR & LEGAL ASSISTANT

LAYNE FAULKNER – Volunteer Coordinator

marisa arancibia – Marketing & special events coordinator

Elean Martinez– Client Intake Manager

 


Bill Holston

Bill Holston
Executive Director

 

An Alabama native, Bill began practicing Business Law with Sullivan and Holston law firm. Bill, also an avid human rights advocate, Bill joined HRI’s team as a pro bono   volunteer attorney, where he litigated multiple asylum trials in Immigration Court. In 2005 Bill was awarded the Angel of Freedom Award by Human Rights Initiative of North Texas. Bill’s favorite hobbies are hiking, especially in Big Bend National Park, and reading. His most influential book is Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s ‘Cost of Discipleship’, while his overall favorite is ‘Brothers Karamazov’.

e-mail: bholston@hrionline.org
phone:
214-273-4333
See Bill’s Full Bio

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Kavita Khandekar Chopra Kavita Khandekar Chopra
Deputy Director

 

Kavita, though Texas-born, was raised in California where she earned her Bachelors in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. While completing her Masters in Social Work at UT Austin, Kavita found Human Rights Initiative during her final intern semester. For her, HRI was the perfect combination of her passion areas: immigration, domestic violence, and law.  When she’s not at work, Kavita enjoys practicing yoga, cooking, and playing with her two dogs.

e-mail: kkhandekar@hrionline.org
phone: 
214-273-4334
 

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Sara Wahl
Attorney, Crime Victims Program

 

Sara is a Minnesota native and received her B.A. magna cum laude from St. Olaf College, her M.Ed. summa cum laude from Vanderbilt University, and her J.D. cum laude from the University of Minnesota.  Sara worked for HRI for many years as a pro bono attorney before joining the staff in 2017.  When not working, SARA enjoys spending time with her family, practicing yoga, and watching Broadway musicals.

e-mailSWAhl@hrionline.org
phone: 214-273-4342

 

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MARCELA EVANS
Attorney, IMMIGRANT CHILDREN’S Program

 

Marcela is a Dallas native who earned her B.A. in Latin American Studies from UT Austin, and her J.D. from Oklahoma City University. Both Marcela’s career and studies have lent themselves to an international focus, with particular attention being given to community service, youth empowerment, and human rights and humanitarian law. When she’s not fighting for justice, Marcela loves traveling, reading paper books, and playing with extremely furry dogs.

e-mail: mevans@hrionline.org
phone: 214-273-4340

See Marcela’s Full Bio

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pilar ferguson
Asylum program attorney

 

Pilar is a california native and received her b.a in political science, magna cum laude from the university of arizona, and her j.d. from the university of california, irvine school of law. prior to joining hri, pilar worked at kids in need of defense in los angeles, first as an equal justice works fellow and then as a staff attorney, when not fighting for justice, pilar loves attending concerts, hiking, and exploring dallas.

e-mail: pferguson@hrionline.org
phone:
214-273-4331

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Zainab Ellis
Zainab Ellis
Social Services Director

 

Zainab is half Middle Eastern, half white, and 100% Texan. She has a BA in International Studies from the University of North Texas, with concentrations in Politics & Diplomacy, the Middle East, and Arabic, and is in the process of working on her Masters in Social Work at the University of Texas at Arlington. She began working at HRI in 2011 through Americorps VISTA, managing the volunteer program. After learning that her heart is in the social services field, Zainab returned to HRI to head the Social Services department in 2012. When she’s not helping clients, Zainab loves spending time with her family and traveling.

e-mail: zellis@hrionline.org
phone:
214-273-4335

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Elisandra De La Cruz 

IMMIGRANT CHILDREN’S PROGRAM CASE MANAGER

 

Elisandra settled in Dallas, TX after living in Arezzo, Italy and graduating from the University of Oklahoma with her Bachelors in Political Science and International Relations. She has a vast amount of experience working with immigrants, most notably in the International Rescue Committee. While there she was drawn to economic empowerment for refugee women in the DFW area and immigration relief for various immigrant populations including refugees, asylum seekers, and minors from Central America. When Elisandra is not serving our clients, she can be found traveling or speaking one of the five languages she knows.

E-MAIL: EDeLaCruz@hrionline.org
PHONE: 
214-273-4341

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hri-5797-2 Kristina Morales

CASE MANAGEMENT COORDINATOR & LEGAL ASSISTANT

 

Kristina is  Dallas texas born and raised. She graduated from The University of North Texas Where she RECEIVED her Bachelor of Arts in General Studies in 2007 and Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with an Emphasis in Women’s Studies in 2010. Kristina has always known that her heart is in non-profit work, and has served HRI Clients since the Fall of 2012. Kristina loves taking long walks with her dog, LuLu, and enjoys going to rallies and events that promote social justice.

e-mail: kmorales@hrionline.org
phone:
214-273-4338

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Zeyla Gonzalez

CASE MANAGEMENT COORDINATOR & LEGAL ASSISTANT

 

Zeyla, a Texas native, is a graduate of the University of North Texas in Denton where she studied International Studies and Spanish. before joining the team in 2013, Zeyla was a committed HRI volunteer and translator. When she’s not ASSISTING HRI’s lawyers and clients, Zeyla can be found immersed in the arts–having trained in ballet and modern dance for 15 years.

e-mail:zgonzalez@hrionline.org

phone: 214-273-4339

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CAROLINA PINA

CASE MANAGEMENT COORDINATOR & LEGAL ASSISTANT

 

carolina, a Texas native, EARNED HER BACHELOR’s DEGREE IN POLITICAL SCIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES FROM TEXAS A&m COMMERCE. SHE KNEW THAT SHE WANTED TO WORK WITH IMMIGRANTS BECAUSE HER FAMILY ARE ALSO IMMIGRANTS . wORKING FOR A NONPROFIT LIKE HRI gives HER THE CHANCE TO GIVE BACK AND FULFILL HER DREAM OF HELPING CHILDREN. wHEN SHE’S NOT HELPING THE CAUSE, YOU CAN FIND HER TRAVELLING AND GOING TO THE BEACH.

e-mail CPINA@HRIONLINE.ORG

phone: 214-273-4337

 

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layne faulkner
volunteer coordinator

 

born and raised in Austin, tx, layne attended the university of Texas at Austin. she received her ba in applied learning and development. during her career as an educator, Layne dedicated herself to underserved communities and taught numerous refugee and immigrant students. Layne was a regular volunteer at hri before joining the staff in 2018. outside of hri, layne’s passions are reading, painting, and spending time with her husband.

e-mail: LFAULKNER@hrionline.org
phone: 
214-273-4344

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MARISA ARANCIBIA

MARKETING AND SPECIAL EVENTS COORDINATOR

 

A CLEVELAND Ohio NATIVE, MARISA MOVED TO DALLAS IN 2017 TO PURSUE HER LOVE OF WRITING AND supporting HUMAN RIGHTS. mARISA HAS TRAVELLED TO 6 COUNTRIES so far AND ATTENDED MIAMI UNIVERSITY OF OHIO WHERE SHE GRADUATED with her b.a. IN pROFESSIONAL WRITING AND SPANISH. her interest in immigration and human rights was ignited when SHE WAS in 8th grade and saw former president obama speak, AND IS EXCITED TO WORK WITH HRI TO COMBINE HER PASSIONs AND SKILLS IN ORDER TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the world. wHEN SHE’S NOT FIGHTING FOR IMMIGRANT RIGHTS, SHE CAN BE FOUND TRAVELING, PLAYING WITH HER DOG, ATTENDING CONCERTS, AND EXPLORING TEXAS WITH HER FRIENDS.

e-mail MARANCIBIA@HRIONLINE.ORG

phone: 214-273-4336

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Elean Martinez
CLIENT Intake Manager

 

Elean was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. During her last year at the University of North Texas in Denton, where she graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Social Science, Elean volunteered as a translator with HRI. with a passion for helping others, Elean has found herself right at home at hri. When she’s not lending a listening hear to our prospective clients, she can be found enjoying a good craft beer and hanging out with her friends and family.

e-mail: EMartinez@hrionline.org
phone: 
214-273-4330

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