Angels of Freedom


Each November, Human Rights Initiative recognizes organizations and individuals whose gifts during the year – financial or otherwise – contributed significantly to the agency’s ability to carry out its mission.

These special organizations and individuals receive our Angel of Freedom award.

A beautiful Baccarat crystal figurine, the Angel of Freedom award honors those whose extraordinary commitment to Human Rights Initiative during the year has inspired us to keep striving, to seek out those who need our help, to remember why we do what we do.

2016 Angel of Freedom Recipients

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Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP

For many years, Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP has been an important pro bono partner with HRI. In early 2015, Gardere’s Dallas office reached out to HRI to see how they can help serve the hundreds of Central American unaccompanied minors who were being relocated in the North Texas area. HRI was overwhelmed by the number of children who needed legal representation, and Gardere was one of the major pro bono players in helping us serve this vulnerable population.  In the last two years, Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP has donated hundreds of hours to HRI clients and we are so grateful.

Beverly B. Godbey, HRI volunteer and partner at Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP says, “When we heard about the hundreds of unaccompanied minors streaming into Texas from Central America, Gardere decided to take on their representation as a firm-wide pro bono project.  HRI generously provided the training, guidance, forms, professional assistance and mentoring to help us rescue dozens of children, some as young as three years old.  HRI’s work is life-changing, and Gardere is thrilled and honored to receive this amazing award, but the real winners are the children.”


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InterNations Dallas Volunteer Group

InterNations is the largest international community for people who live and work abroad. InterNations Dallas is comprised of over 6,000 expats, 500 of which belong to their Volunteer Group. In 2013, Human Rights Initiative officially became a non-profit partner of InterNations Dallas Volunteer Group. Since then, this group has organized multiple fundraisers, clothing and toiletry drives, employment workshops, and holiday parties for our clients. The InterNations Dallas Volunteer Group pours their heart into each of these projects, tailoring each to fit the needs of our clients and best serve our agency. We are so grateful for their passion and their commitment to the clients of HRI.

“By orchestrating over $4.7M of pro-bono legal support each year, assisting over 550 individual clients annually through the multi-year immigration process, and providing all its services for free, HRI continues to make a very significant difference in the lives of foreigners who are fleeing violence and seeking safety through legal immigrant protections here in Dallas. The InterNations Dallas Volunteer Group would like to thank HRI for this award and for the opportunity it provides to offer our international members the ability to support a cause that is dear to our hearts being also away from our homelands. InterNations Dallas feels privileged to partner with HRI and is humbled to be a recipient of the Angel of Freedom award.” states the InterNations Dallas Volunteer Group Consul/Leadership team.


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John Schwartz

John Schwartz began his volunteer work with Human Rights Initiative in 2007.  In that time John, senior counsel at Norton Rose Fulbright, has represented multiple asylum seekers from countries like Nepal, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Pakistan.  In the past nine years, John has donated nearly 1,000 hours to HRI clients.  His dedication to asylum-seekers and HRI is unparalleled. Thank you John.

Jonathan Skidmore, partner –in-charge at Norton Rose Fulbright’s Dallas Office, was thrilled to hear about John’s Angel of Freedom Award. He stated, “We are very proud of John’s work with Human Rights Initiative and his remarkable effort on behalf of those in need of asylum assistance. Like many of our lawyers, John realizes that without the assistance of volunteer attorneys, HRI’s clients will face almost certain persecution or worse in their home countries. Norton Rose Fulbright attorneys like John are privileged to be able to use their knowledge and skills where we can make a meaningful difference.  Thank you for recognizing John’s contributions.”

2013 Angel Of Freedom Recipients

  • Dr. Antoinette McGarrahan
  • Jones Day
  • AT&T Legal Department

2012 Angel Of Freedom Recipients

  • The Agape Clinic
  • Dallas Women’s Foundation
  • Vinson & Elkins LLP

2011 Angel Of Freedom Recipients

  • Dr. Mary Ellen Bluntzer
  • Ms. Carol Jablonski
  • The Embrey Human Rights Program at Southern Methodist University
  • The Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University

2010 Angel Of Freedom Recipients

  • The Meadows Foundation
  • Ms. Lori Feehan
  • Hunton & Williams, LLP

2009 Angel Of Freedom Recipients

  • Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
  • Embrey Family Foundation
  • Women of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church

2008 Angel of Freedom Recipients 

  • The Overbrook Foundation
  • Christina A Jonsson and the Philip R. Jonsson Foundation
  • Diane Couchman, Senior Counsel, Akin Kump

2007 Angel Of Freedom Recipients

  • Texas Bar Foundation
  • Ms. Kathy Haecker (Crime Victims Liason, Hurst Texas Police Department)
  • Sidley Austin LLP

2006 Angel Of Freedom Recipients

  • Locke Liddell & Sapp LLP
  • Parkland Health & Hospital System, Victim Intervention Program / Rape Crisis, (VIP)
  • Ms. Nhung Vu

2005 Angel of Freedom Recipients

  • Haynes and Boone, LLP
  • The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Dallas
  • William O. Holston, Jr.

2004 Angel of Freedom Recipients

  • Patton Boggs LLP
  • Mosaic Family Services, Inc.
  • SMU Dedman School of Law Student Bar Association

2003 Angel of Freedom Recipients

  • Vinson & Elkins, L.L.P.
  • Legal Aid of Northwest Texas
  • Harold Simmons Foundation

2002 Angel of Freedom Recipients

  • Haynes and Boone, L.L.P.
  • Dallas Women’s Foundation
  • Harold Simmons Foundation

2001 Angel of Freedom Recipients

  • Harold Simmons Foundation
  • Patton Boggs, L.L.P.
  • Parkland Hospital Violence Intervention & Prevention Center

2000 Angel of Freedom Recipients

  • Harold Simmons Foundation
  • Dallas Bar Foundation