DALLAS – Human Rights Initiative of North Texas (HRI) announces its fourth Annual Rock Your HeART Out Concert & Art Auction to take place on Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at Life in Deep Ellum (2803 Taylor St., Dallas, TX 75226).


Rock Your HeART Out, annual Concert & Art Auction, celebrates HRI’s former clients who have successfully found safety and freedom.



Now in its fourth year, RYHO pairs up teams of local artists and former HRI clients to create unique pieces for the silent auction, each of which will shed light on the immigrant journey to freedom. RYHO also presents a mini-documentary at the event, that chronicles the process of the artist+client pair creating their artwork. This artwork is auctioned off at RYHO, to benefit Human Rights Initiative of North Texas.


Each year, RYHO presents a musical act that is not only recognized for their art but for their social awareness as well. Our musical acts are as devoted to making our city better as we are! Their Music will blow your socks off and their Heart will melt yours.


All proceeds from RYHO are directed towards Human Rights Initiative of North Texas that provides 100% free legal and social services for vulnerable immigrants and refugees in the North Texas area. Because of HRI’s unique pro bono model, every dollar coming into the agency is multiplied by two (2) times through the service donations of our volunteer attorneys. In 2018, volunteers donated over $4.2 million in legal services to HRI clients!

Scroll down for more ROCK YOUR HEART OUT 2019 details!

Premium Bananas  by Daniel Avazpour for RYHO18

Premium Bananas by Daniel Avazpour for RYHO18

Artists and Musicians Announced For RYHO2019!

Art - Live Music - Stories of unbelievable Valor and Perseverance. Rock Your HeART Out is your ticket to making Dallas inclusive! About this Event THE MISSION

All proceeds from RYHO are directed towards Human Rights Initiative of North Texas. We provide 100% free legal and social services for vulnerable immigrants and refugees in the North Texas area.


Now in its fourth year, RYHO pairs local artists and former HRI clients to create Art: each piece of art is a way of translating treacherous journeys that our former clients have encountered into beacons of Hope. This artwork is auctioned off at RYHO, to benefit Human Rights Initiative of North Texas.

Artist Lineup for RYHO19:

Alisa Eykilis, April Hopkins, Christi Nielsen, Cristina Medina, Daniel Avazpour, Erica Stephens, Jessica Fuentes, Kimberly Alexander, Leticia Alaniz, Lorraine Tady and Monika Bell


RYHO also presents a set of mini-documentaries that chronicle the process of the Artist+Client pair creating their artwork.

RYHO19 Documentarian: Christian Vasquez


Each year, RYHO presents a musical act that is not only recognized for their art but for their social awareness as well.

Music Lineup for RYHO19: Opener: Honey Creek - Headliner: Jamal Mohamed Ensemble


Founded by social worker Serena Simmons Connelly and lawyer Elizabeth Healy, the Dallas-based Human Rights Initiative of North Texas has grown into an award-winning agency helping immigrant survivors of human rights abuses from all over the world. Our courageous and resilient clients are eligible to apply for legal status under the humanitarian provisions of United States immigration laws and policies: they are asylum seekers fleeing persecution; children who have been abandoned, abused, or neglected; and victims of family violence and violent crimes. HRI’s Legal team partners with a network of over 250 pro bono attorneys from top DFW firms and corporations to help clients access the U.S. Immigration System, and our Social Services team offers transitional support and referrals to help address trauma and ease the hardships of profound displacement. At HRI, all of our services are free, and all are designed to help forge a path to safety, stability, and opportunity. For more information, visit www.hrionline.org.

For more information about the event, visit or follow us at www.rockyourheartout.org, www.facebook.com/RYHODallas/, or www.instagram.com/ryhodallas/. For more information about HRI, visit or follow us at www.hrionline.org, www.facebook.com/HRIOnline, www.instagram.com/humanrightsinitiative.


NOTE TO MEDIA MEMBERS: You may download captioned high-res images from last year’s event including art works here: www.facebook.com/RYHODallas.




VIP Reception: 7P.M.

Doors: 8PM



2019 LINE-UP!



Jamal Mohamed has been a featured artist in many international music events having performed with Sting, Mark O’Connor, Giovanni Hidalgo and many other well known artists. He has presented percussion workshops at venues worldwide, including Berklee College of Music in Boston; the National Institute of Fine Arts in Mexico City; the Tokyo School of Music in Tokyo, Japan; the American University in Cairo, Egypt; the Center for World Music in Bali, Indonesia; and the University of Hong Kong, to name a few.

A native of Lebanon, Jamal grew up in the Chicago area, where he was exposed to rich blues and jazz traditions as well as the Middle Eastern music he heard at home. Known for his virtuosity on the doumbek, Jamal has incorporated many innovative jazz and Latin styles with this ancient instrument. He is acknowledged as a master craftsman and builds many of his own instruments. In 2010 Toca Percussion introduced the “Jamal Doumbek,” a signature drum he designed with Toca. In 2018 Toca introduced 5 new “Jamal” signature drums including riq (Arabic tambourine) and mazhars (Arabic frame drums).

Jamal was one of the founding members of the percussion group Ddrum, the 2010 winner of Drum magazine’s award for best percussion group. The group has been featured in two documentaries, one an Emmy award winning PBS short film that documents their travels and observations as related to World Percussion and the other, “Gamelan DDrum”, directed by John Bryant, about the group’s collaboration with composer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer Stewart Copeland of the “Police”, and the Dallas Symphony.

Jamal is currently on the faculty at the “Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University” where he teaches percussion, and directs the “Meadows World Music Ensemble” He is also the founder and director of SMU in Bali”, a study abroad program that explores the arts and culture of Indonesia. He is also active as a performer currently with World Music group, “Mandala” and the improvisational group “Drum and Wind.”

Jamal Mohamed plays and endorses:

Toca Percussion

Sabian Cymbals

Pro-Mark drum sticks

Cooperman Frame Drums


Jamal Mohamed

Jamal Mohamed


Rock your HeART Out 2018 STORYTELLERs

Our Storytellers are talented, compassionate and respectful visual artists who take the opportunity to be paired up with one of our clients. Our clients have escaped human rights violations and lost every bit of their former lives to find safety. We want to tell their stories through a different lens, a different perspective, a different narrative. We hope that this process will also inspire healing and understanding between our Clients, the Artists and our Community.

Once our Artists are chosen, we pair them with a former Client. There is an initial meeting between the two, where the client story is shared and the artist suggests a few ideas as to how the piece may morph. At the second meeting, the artist may share the progress of the piece and/or further interview the Client.

*We could never thank our Storytellers enough, but we do offer a humble stipend and a free ticket to one of our events for their work.

RYHO2018 StoryTellers

RYHO2017 StoryTellers


Human Rights Initiative

In 2000, attorney Betsy Healy and social worker Serena Simmons Connelly founded Human Rights Initiative of North Texas. HRI offers free legal representation to those victims who are most vulnerable and, often times, completely invisible to the current justice system. All of HRI’s clients are survivors of human rights abuses, either internationally or domestically. Most often, they leave their home countries with little to nothing to help them start a new life and are faced with financial, cultural, language, transportation, and legal barriers. Through professional legal services, HRI is able to help these individuals overcome at least one of these hurdles: immigration status.  Through supportive social services, HRI begins to chip away at the rest.


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


Human Rights Initiative is proud of our innovative and efficient model to provide the maximum amount of services with the lowest cost to donors. Our legal services are always 100% free to the client. We are able to do this through a large, award-winning network of volunteer professionals who donate their time to help our cause. In turn, HRI offers free training and support to the professionals as they work on each legal case. 


Human Rights Initiative Announces Third Annual Benefit Concert & Art Auction!