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Meeting Minutes:

Human Rights & Justice Committee – 12.13.2018


Thursday, December 13, 2018
La Madeleine (3072 Mockingbird Lane, Dallas
6:00-7:15 pm

Participants included: Angelica Andrade, Diane Baker, Don Dillard, Paul Dille, Jose Espericueta, Joyce Hall, Youssef Hassan, Nick Hernandez, Hadi Jawad, Shahrukh Kureishy, Bill Maxwell, Patricia Murphy, Jeff Robinson, Aftab Siddiqui, Hisham Syed and our two guest speakers: Rick Halperin and Leslie McMurray

* Our first guest speaker, Dr. Richard Halperin from SMUs Embrey Human Rights Program presented two “asks”:

1. Human Rights-Dallas Campaign: Backed up by introductory remarks by Hadi Jawad,

Rick reminded the group that the HR-Dallas has been already been doing some preliminary work to have Dallas declare itself as a “Human Rights City.” This included distributing the draft of the proposed “City of Dallas Human Rights Proclamation” to all 14 City of Dallas Council members. The feedback to date is that at least 6-8 district members seem to be receptive to the proposal. Rick also mentioned that only 5 U.S. cities have made the declaration to date (Austin, Texas; Eugene, Oregon; Washington, D.C.,; Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; and Tulsa, Oklahoma) and that it would be significant, given its size, if Dallas could become the next one to do so.

Therefore, the first “ask” of the night was to have our HRJC spearhead a “campaign” to obtain this end-goal. A motion to do so was made by Jose Espericueta, seconded by Hadi Jawad, and was accepted unanimously. Jose Espericueta and Bill Maxwell volunteered to be the be the co-chairs of this campaign; Angela Andrade volunteered to assist them, and Paul Dille and Patricia Murphy expressed an interest to be campaign team members.

2. Death Penalty Event in January: Rick began this ask by noting that on the night of our meeting one of the last executions of the year was taking place in Florida and also by focusing our attention to the fact that Texas still has the worst record for the death penalty (13 of the 25 executions that took place this year happened in our state). He expressed the hope that, with a new DA on board in January, change is possible. This comment was followed up with the suggestion that we schedule a meeting with the DA once he is in office and Don Dillard said he was willing to help make that happen. The second formal “ask” of the evening was that our committee help plan a public event in January that would highlight the need to abolish the death penalty (e.g., explain what the death penalty is and isn’t, etc.). Hadi stated that he is willing to be the lead organizer for the event.

* Our second guest speaker, Leslie McMurray, from the Resource Center: empowering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning communities and all people affected by HIV, shared her personal story of being a transgender woman in the United States. She connected it along the way with examples that highlighted the fact that there are little or no protections for the transgender community here in areas such as employment, housing and health care, among others. She also talked about the fact that barriers still exist in at least some areas of our country in terms of voting rights because the names and pictures for transgenders on identification cards are not always a match. She also talked about the need for a better understanding by the general public that transgenders are not a safety threat (e.g., in bathrooms) and, in fact. are the ones whose safety in general is often at risk (e.g., if they are forced to use a bathroom that reflects there birth gender), citing statistics about hate crimes. She concluded by stressing the idea that transgender people are not looking to take away any other people’s rights, they just want equality/ equal rights. She then fielded some questions about the Resource Center and referred people to their Web site, i.e., , for more information.

* Hadi Jawad: Fiscal Sponsorship: Santos Vive Project. This agenda item needed to be tabled because the meeting went over the usual time limit.

* Input from members re. key focus areas, guest speakers, events, actions, etc. for our HRJC in 2019: There was no time for verbal input for this agenda item, but hard copies of a survey were distributed and those present were requested fill in out and either hand it that night, or bring it to the DPJC board meeting or get in touch with Patricia Murphy for other alternatives.

* Announcements: Joyce Hall passed on information about a gun control event that is being planned for April 4, 2019, the anniversary on Dr. MLK, Jr. death. It’s being hosted by the Texas branch of Moms Demand Action For Gun Control in America, but they are looking for other like-minded organizations to be cosponsors. Bill Maxwell volunteered to present a request to the DPJC board that we be one of them.
* The next meeting for our HRJC was set for Thurs., Jan. 11 from 6-7:00 pm at the same location. The group was also reminded that the DPJC Stakeholders meeting is scheduled of the next day, i.e., Jan. 12 at the Mix. at 9:00 a.m.

Respectfully submitted by
Patricia Murphy, HRJC Co-Chair

Supporting Documents:

“The progress of LGBT rights is often directly tied to—sometimes through indirect routes
—multiple fights for human dignity and freedom.”
-Michael Bronski, Global Gay: How Gay Culture Is Changing the World



Meeting Minutes:

Human Rights & Justice Committee – 10.11.2018


October 11, 2018
La Madeleine (3072 Mockingbird Lane, Dallas
6:20 pm

Present: Don Dillard, Leslie Harris, Carolyn Bentley, Joyce Hall, Bill Maxwell, Hadi Jawad, co-chair, José Espericueta, co-chair, Mavis Belisle, Hisham Syed, Aftab Siddiqui, Essam Ashereafi, Paul Dille, Nubia Torres (guest speaker).

1. Nubia Torres, of Catholic Charities Dallas, spoke about services CCD provides for immigrants including legal services, visas, for those who are victims of different types of crimes, citizenship workshops, and informational sessions for host families of unaccompanied minors, to help them understand the legal process surrounding their situation. They assist with DACA applications and provide disaster relief across the country. CCD sees about 400 clients per week in one capacity or another and employs about 34 people.

2. She spoke about proposed legislation before congress that would allow those who are currently applying for a green card to be denied if they have used food stamps.

See story:

Ms. Torres recommended visiting to find more about this (I was unable to find specifics on the proposed legislation while writing these minutes).

3. Hadi Jawad, co-chair, spoke of the upcoming meeting at the Mix Sunday October 21. Initial recruitment for youth legislative training in DC. Santos Vive Project update: 9am meeting at city hall to discuss the name change of the rec center at Pike Park. Hadi also spoke about Human Rights Dallas's current issue: passing a city resolution to declare Dallas a Human Rights City. This is an issue HR&J committee will continue to monitor.




Meeting Minutes:

Human Rights & Justice Committee – 05.10.2018


Meeting started at 6:15

Ray Mcgovern. Former CIA, protesting Gina M appt
Joyce spoke about the Ira Helfand visit coming up. (see attached).
Wednesday, May 16th, 5:30PM. 7pm, SHI USA Dallas Buddhist Center.

Aftab. Dropping out of the Iran Nuclear deal. Position placed on website, action item coming. Stay posted.

Kavita: HRI, background. Legal and social services for immigrants and refugees.
Different programs: Asylum, Women and Children’s program (children particular to central American violence from 2014 on), Social services program.
Challenges with working with federal government
Sessions referred the case to himself (battered women)
For the first time in HRI, the administration is focusing on their particular clientele (asylum seekers, the most humanitarian cases).

Indefinite detentions of certain asylum seekers,







Meeting Minutes:

Human Rights & Justice Committee – 03.08.2018


Minutes of the March 8, 2018 Meeting of the Human Rights & Justice Committee
The monthly meeting took place at 6:00 p.m. on March 8, 2018 at La Madeleine (3072 Mockingbird Lane, Dallas).

Participants included: Fahed Alhaj, Tarsk Alkadiri, Diane Baker, Mavis Belisle, Carolyn Bentley, Brandy K,, Chambers, Don Dillard, Jose Espericueta, Ashley Gayne, Joyce Hall, Suzzane Horani, Hadi Jawad, Shahrukh,Kureishy, Bill Maxwell, Patricia Murphy, Aftab Siddiqui, Tina Sohne, and Hisham Syed.

1. Minutes of the February 8, 2018 were reviewed and then approved by consensus.

2. a. Brandy Chambers, our guest speaker, shared insights re. the topic of human trafficking, focusing specific attention to the sexual exploitation of young teenage victims here in Dallas. Her talk included ways in which this situation should be properly dealt with, e.g., identifying the victims as victims not as prostitutes/treating them with dignity, taking the proactive step of being aware of red flags that she identified and then reporting incidents that our trigger suspicions, etc.

b. As a promised follow-up to that discussion, the following list of relevant telephone numbers was shared on our committee’s FB group ( ):

* National Human Trafficking 24/7 Hotline: 1-888-373-7888
* Mosaic Family Services
24/7 Hotline:(214) 823-1911
Phone: (214) 821-5393
* New Friends New Life
Hotline:(214) 965-0935
* Traffick 911
Hotline: (817) 575-9923 x700
Source: ]

3. Joyce Hall spoke briefly regarding the upcoming visit to Dallas by four Russian women; she also distributed a handout that detailed the “Meet and Dialogue” event that is scheduled for Tues., March 27 from 7-9 p.m. at the Hitt Auditorium in the Methodist Hospital (Dallas).

4. A quick discussion regarding our committee’s participation in upcoming gun control actions/events took place, keeping in mind that this year’s annual NRA Convention is currently scheduled to be held at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in downtown Dallas, Fri., May 4- Sun., May 6. A suggestion was made that Joyce Hall, Hadi Jawad, and Bill Maxwell look into the sponsors of the various events in order that our committee can make informed decisions as to whether or not we want to offer to be co-sponsors and/or participate in any of the events as a group rather than just as individuals. Another suggestion was made that our HRJC committee should get a banner.

5. Patricia Murphy shared her general impressions about the TCADP Conference that several members of this committee had attended in February. She also distributed a hard copy of a pdf file entitled “What to Watch, Read, and Listen to in Criminal Justice” that was forwarded to her from one of the workshop presenters and added that PBS was airing a broadcast of “True Convictions,” one of the recommendations, on April 30.

6. The following announcements were made:

  1. Joyce Hall: re. the possibility of a May 16 speaking event by Dr. Ira Helfand,
  2.  Mavis Belisle: “Fund Peace Not Police,” re. preventing the militarization of police,
  3. Patricia Murphy: re. the creation of the HR&J Committee’s FB group (see the url address listed in 2.b.)
  4. Jose Espericueta: re. the future sainthood of Archbishop Oscar Romero and also about the March 22
    event scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the Perkins Chapel of S. M. U. that will honor the 38th anniversary of Archbishop Oscar Romero’s martyrdom.

Respectfully submitted by Patricia Murphy




Meeting Minutes:

Human Rights & Justice Committee – 03.10.2016


Human Rights & Justice Committee

Mar 10, 2016 at La Madeleine, Mockingbird Lane at 6 PM.
Participants included Bill Maxwell, Joyce Hall, Jameela Oomerjee, Jason Redick  (TCADP), Mavis Belisle, Don Dillard,Carolyn Bentley, Leslie Harris, Betty Jane Ferguson, Aftab Siddiqui, Mohammed Abdalla (Earth Day Actions)
1. Status of Syrian Refugees was discussed. Joyce and Aftab updated about the event hosted by Northaven United Methodist Church on the issue.
2. The precarious situation of Yemenis under attack and besieged by Saudi Coalition was discussed.
3. Jason talked about the death penalty issue and what steps can be taken to move the issue forward.Resolutions on Death Penalty are being presented and voted in district/county conventions of Democratic Party. Jason will forward the resolution to Bill for moving in the Republican Party also.
4. Joyce informed about Pax Christi efforts to meet the  Texas Governor and Elected Representatives on the issue of death penalty.
5. Mahommed explained the actions and event being organized on the weekend of Earth Day (Fri – Sun) at Fair Park. DP&JC can reserve a booth. They are expecting 75,000 attendees. Details on Aftab offered to share a booth with Muslim Democratic Caucus who have reserved a booth.
6. Jameela shared updates on meeting at the Human Trafficking Committee. The numbers of victims are not known but run into thousands. Aftab shared the info on presentations by NPR on its program Market Place. A series of small segments were aired in February 2016. Action items to call legislators on the issue.
7. Mavis updated on the military hardware issue at Dallas Police Department. Good news is that Department of Defense has stopped the program of providing excess military equipment to police departments and school districts.
8. Aftab brought the issue of increased level of threats and violence against the minorities and their institutions due to hateful rhetoric in the Presidential campaigns. Threats and vandalism against mosques has increased. Hispanics are feeling insecure and there have been cases of violence. Bill brought the issue of triple murders of Somalian immigrants in execution style in Indiana recently. Local police is still treating the crime as a business dealing gone wrong.
9. Two possible events on death penalty were discussed. One a presentation by Dr. Ana Otero – a historical perspective from legal point of view and screening of a documentary “The Darkest Hour” (last hour before execution). Bill, Mavis, and Aftab will meet with Dr. Gilmore on the screening of the documentary. Maybe we can combine both in an event.
Submitted by Aftab Siddiqui

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