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Meeting Minutes:

Human Rights & Justice Committee – 01.10.2019


Minutes for the January 10, 2019 Meeting
of the DPJC Human Rights & Justice Committee:

Our HRJC monthly meeting took place on Thursday, January 10, 2018
at La Madeleine Cafe (3072 Mockingbird Lane, Dallas) from 6:10-7:10 pm

Participants included: Paul Dille, Jose Espericueta, Joyce Hall, Hadi Jawad,
Bill Maxwell, and Patricia Murphy

Minutes from the HRJC 12/13/18 meeting were distributed and reviewed.

Abolishing the Death Penalty:
1. Hadi reported that the venue for the upcoming abolish the death penalty event is all set for Sat., Feb. 16 from 2-4 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Library (2922 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, 75215). The room we reserved can hold approximately 50 people. He said that the librarian needs a short informational blurb about the event- she needs to have a title for it, too.

Brainstorming about this request produced the following results: The title will be the “The Case Against the Death Penalty in Texas.” The event will be a panel discussion; ideally the panelists will include: someone from the religious community, a death penalty lawyer, a family member of someone affected by it, and the current Dallas County District Attorney, i.e., John Creuzot, or, if he’s not available, another government official; Rick Halperin will be asked to be the moderator. Names for the various panelists were suggested, but a decision was made to eliminate some of the ones suggested, esp. those for the religious leaders because they might not be a good fit either because their views on the abolition of the death penalty might be too conservative or because they were too controversial a figure. Everyone present agreed to get back to Hadi if they thought of anyone else he could contact to be a panelist, which he agreed will be helpful if the people who were suggested were not available. In the meantime, Hadi said he will contact Rick Halperin, Rev. Holsey Hickman, Lydia Brant, Esq., Justin Moore, Esq., plus John Creuzot and his entire staff. The following suggestions were made for Co-sponsors of the event: DPJC, SMU Human Rights, Amnesty International DFW, and the ACLU-Dallas. Bill said he could check with the social justice group of his parish that he is the Chairperson of if we end up needing more co-sponsors; Joyce said she could do the same with the Pax Christi Dallas group that she is the Chairperson of; she also said that she will check with the Catholic Mobility group to find out if they have a Dallas connection.

The brainstorming then turned to the need for publicity such as a flyer with graphics, newspaper and radio coverage, and a Facebook event page. Bill volunteered to look for graphics and work on a flyer- Hadi said he will send details re. the panelists, hopefully, by Monday; once the flyer is in place, it will be used to create a corresponding FB event page. Jose volunteered to contact a student of his regarding social media coverage. Bill and Hadi volunteered to come up with a press release that can be shared with the Dallas Examiner and the Dallas Morning News. Patricia suggested that we ask Mariina Ruiz (Eco Latino, KMSR) and Gene Lantz (Worker’s Beat, KNON ) if they would be willing to promote the event on their radio shows- Jose volunteered to contact Marina and Hadi suggested that he should ask if he could speak on her show the day before the event (Friday, Feb. 15) and Patricia volunteered to contact Gene but said she has a conflict that will prevent her from being the one who would speak on air. Bill suggested we also contact a Black gospel radio show, e.g., Robert Ashley (Heaven, KHVN). Hadi was told he could reach out to the rest of us for additional help if needed. Patricia reminded the group that last minutes details could be discussed at our next monthly meeting, two days before the event.

2. Patricia stated that the ACLU screening of the documentary “Death Row Stories: Family Lies” was scheduled for Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at 5:30 pm at the Texas Theatre (231 W Jefferson Blvd 75208) and that Anthony Graves, aka U.S. Death Row Exonerate #138, was going to be there to answer questions and sign copies of his book, Infinite Hope (See ) She suggested that we ask Lauren-Elaine Brown if we could announce our event and/or pass out flyers for it as part at the conclusion of the ACLU event. Hadi said it would be amazing if Anthony Graves could be asked to be one of our panelists, too. Patricia said she was willing to be the person who asks Lauren-Elaine Brown both questions- she was also willing to be the one to pass out flyers if that could be done.

3. Patricia reminded the group that Don Dillard was in the process of contacting the D.A. to set up an appointment with some of the members of our HRJC and that he would be getting back to us once the meeting is set up.

Human Rights-Dallas Campaign Initiative
Hadi reminded the group that preliminary work for Human Rights-Dallas campaign initiative was already accomplished under the leadership of Dr. Rick Halperin: most notably drafting the proposed Dallas Human Rights City proclamation and distributing it to the Mayor and all 14 City Council representatives; Patricia distributed copies of the proclamation. Bill also reminded the group about the background information regarding the County on July 5, 2017 (see ), but said that it was not too difficult a process for the group he worked with at the time because we had friends in power back then, especially Judge Clay Jenkins who played a significant role in the success. Bill said it only took a few hours to achieve the 3:2 vote to pass the proclamation. He also noted that the previous attempt to get the county officials to pass the “Compassionate Cities” charter had failed. Hadi expressed an optimistic opinion about the City of Dallas proclamation being accepted, reminding us that it appeared to him that at least 8 members of the current city council are already on board with it. He also added that he had recently run into Adam Medrano and that Adam, whom Hadi stated was a key player, seemed to be very excited about the initiative.

The group then brainstormed ideas about to continue the effort. It was mentioned that some newly elected council members do not yet have a copy of the proposed proclamation so we should rectify that situation as ASAP.

Another suggestion was that we develop a list of talking points to share with the mayor and the 14 current council members. The following examples were offered: The proclamation is aligned to the UNHR, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the United Nations on December 10, 1948 ( see ) and the United States had signed that Bills of Rights. Dallas County has already proclaimed itself as a Human Rights County- the first county in Texas, and the second county in the U.S. to do so. Five other cities in the U.S. have already proclaimed themselves as Human Rights Cities. Dallas would be the largest city to do so if it came on board. Because Dallas is an “international city,” this proclamation would be good P.R. for it. Following this brainstorming session, Jose and Joyce brought up some of the past human rights violations in the history in Dallas, e.g., e.g., slavery and lynchings, and the fact that a proclamation such as this could help with the healing process; Jose volunteered to work on a position paper that will address this.

The following suggestions were made for the next steps forward: invite all local human rights groups/organizations to be a part of this campaign and organize meetings with the mayor and the city council members. Paul also suggested that perhaps we could host a Human Rights Forum; Hadi cautioned that he knew from an experience assisting with one that was hosted by SMU a few years ago that it takes a great deal of energy and effort to organize something like that. It was agreed that since there were just a few of us at this meeting, that we need to get more suggestions and feedback from others as well. Jose, the Chair of this campaign, said that a separate meeting for this campaign will be a good chance to do that-he will discuss such a meeting at the DPJC Stakeholders meeting; Patricia said that the Stakeholders meeting itself is another opportunity we will have to discuss ideas and get feedback.

Feedback re. our Human Rights & Justice Committee Planning Survey for 2019: Patricia reported that the result of 18 surveys that have been completed so far and distributed copies of them at the meeting in case someone at it had not yet filled one out. She also said that copies will be made available at the DPJC Board meeting. She stated that the top 3 priority issues that the survey showed to date were immigration rights/comprehensive reforms, abolishing the death penalty, and commonsense gun control/safety. Announcements:

* Patricia reminded the group that the annual DPJC Stakeholders meeting was scheduled for Sat., Jan. 12 at The Mix Co-Working and Creative Space at 9 am and that the ACLU screening she had already mentioned was was scheduled for Jan. 23 (see page 1, item #2 of these minutes for details); she then announced that on Sat., Jan. 14 a Citizen Police Review Board Townhall for Districts 2, 6, and 13 was scheduled at 1341 W. Mockingbird Lane at 6 pm [and also stated that anyone can fill out a CPRB (see )], the Dallas Woman’s March was scheduled for Sun., Jan. 20 at 2 p.m. starting at St. Paul’s UMC, and, finally, a FCNL Spring Lobby Training orientation/meeting was scheduled on Sun., Jan. 27 at The Mix from 3-5 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Patricia Murphy


Supporting Documents:

“The death penalty is not about whether people deserve to die for the crimes they commit. The real question of capital punishment in this country is, ‘Do we deserve to kill?’ ”
-Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
“The Human Rights City initiative emerged from the global human rights movement, and it reflects efforts of activist groups to improve respect for human rights principles by governments and other powerful actors who operate at the local/community level. Because of their focus on local contexts, Human Rights Cities tend to emphasize economic, social, and cultural rights as they affect the lives of residents of cities and other communities and their ability to enjoy civil and political human rights.” -V. Paul Brown



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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