Who We Are.

Human Rights Initiative of North Texas was founded eighteen years ago by social worker Serena Simmons Connelly and attorney Elizabeth Healy to meet the need for legal services for asylum-seekers in DFW. Since that time, the agency has expanded to serve immigrant victims who are most vulnerable, and often, completely invisible to the justice system.


All of HRI’s clients are immigrant survivors of human rights abuses, either internationally or domestically. Their stories vary and their circumstances differ, but in the end each is faced with a decision to flee the violent situation or stay and face almost certain death.  If they choose to flee, often times they leave with little to nothing to help them start a new life and are faced with financial, cultural, lingual, transportation, and legal barriers. Through integrated legal and social services, HRI is able to help these individuals overcome at least one of these hurdles: immigration status. Human Rights Initiative of North Texas assists our clients in gaining access to protections made available through the U.S. Immigration System.


Human Rights Initiative of North Texas works hard to serve their nearly 700 clients in the most efficient and effective manner. Their network of 450 pro bono volunteer attorneys allows them to do over $4.3 Million of legal work for just a fraction of the cost to donors. In 2017 they were given the highest rating by Charity Navigator for their exceptional standards.

our Mission.

Mission: HRI of North Texas provides legal and support services to refugees and immigrants who have suffered human rights abuses, advocates for justice and promotes international human rights.

  • Belief in the basic human rights of all people.

  • Respect for the worth and dignity of individuals.

  • Professionalism in our approach to pro bono legal and other service delivery.

  • Accountability to clients, supporters, and the public.

  • Respect for other cultures and U.S. law.

  • Responsiveness to individual client needs.