|Houston, TX – May 16, 2011: Asian/Pacific American Heritage Association (APAHA), held its 19th Annual Gala with the theme “Dancing With The Stars” on Friday, May 13 at the Omni Houston Hotel on 4 Riverway. The Gala was sold out with 350 guests including prominent community, civic, corporate and business leaders. The highlights of the Gala were the “Dancing With The Stars” dance performances of 4 local Asian celebrities in dazzling costumes with professional dancers and presentation of four APAHA Annual Awards. Live Auction, Silent Auction, and Dancing were other fun and entertaining elements of the evening.|
The month of May is the National Asian/ Pacific American Heritage month designated by the U.S. government as such to highlight Asian Pacific American communities, APA heritage and contributions in the U.S. APAHA’s mission “To Promote Asian Pacific American Accomplishments and Heritage” aligns with this and achieves its objectives through education, awareness and celebration initiatives in Greater Houston throughout the year leading up to the APA Heritage month. This gala is one of many ways that APAHA raises funds to continue its ongoing efforts to educate and raise awareness of the Greater Houston Asian/Pacific American community, culture, and heritage. APAHA is being led by 2011 Board President Kim-Ha T Nguyen and Board Co-Vice Presidents Sam Merchant and Major Michael Wong.
Betty Gee (APAHA Board of Directors) and Tammy Gee Su chaired this wonderful evening. ABC 13 anchors, Miya Shay and Andy Cerota emceed the event and together with The Honorable Jacquie Baly Chaumette, City Councilmember of the City of Sugarland, were celebrity judges of the “Dancing with the Stars” performances.
The program started with Greetings from Kim-Ha T Nguyen, APAHA 2011 Board President and Welcome by Gala Co-Chairs Betty Gee and Tammy Gee Su. Tavy Svay sung a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem.
The following Proclamations were presented:
· The Honorable Ed Emmett, Harris County Judge
· The Honorable Robert Hebert, Fort Bend County Judge
· The Honorable Annise Parker, Mayor of City of Houston, presented by Mr. Troung Pham on behalf of The Honorable Al Hoang, Councilmember City of Houston
· The Honorable James A. Thompson, Mayor of City of Sugarland, presented by The Honorable Jacquie Baly Chaumette, Councilmember City of Sugar Land
Dancing stars Mandy Kao, Randy Sim, Tammy Gee Su, and Viet Hoang made this evening unforgettable. Professional dancers, Martin Pelaez, Rebecca Avila, April Kunkel, and Stefan Golubovic showcased their talent as dance partners in dazzling performances. The four Asian-Houstanian celebrities spent countless hours in dance lessons to perform at the gala with their instructors.
The George H.W. Bush Achievement Award was presented to Judy Wong. She has excelled in a challenging career as a professional angler earning two world championships and five national titles. In 2008 she was honored by President George W. Bush in the Oval Office.
The APA Outstanding Corporate Achievement Award was presented to Marathon Oil for service to ethnic communities, support to cultural, educational, and charitable programs, and to the APAH month.
Vietnamese Community of Houston & Vicinity (VNCH) received the APA Outstanding Community Service Award for outstanding services to the Asian American and other communities with life-enriching educational, cultural, and social services programs.
The APA Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed upon Rathna Kumar for her outstanding contribution to the performing arts. She is an internationally renowned danseuse, teacher and choreographer, and the Founder-Director of the ANJALI Center for Performing Arts, the first Indian dance school in Texas, established in 1975, and one of the first in the US.
Live Auction and Silent Auction were other fun elements of the evening. Two international business class tickets were donated by the 5-star Qatar Airlines. Major sponsors include Fiesta Mart, Inc., Marathon Oil Corporation, UBS, Centerpoint Energy, Rupani Foundation, Titan Management, Silver Eagle Distributors, Houston Community College Systems, and Sue & Randy Sims.
APAHA 2011 Scholarships (underwritten by HEB Markets) were presented to High School seniors Stephanie Gaytan Guei, South Houston High School & Kevin Nguyen Le, J. Franke Dobie HS, both Pasadena ISD. James Harris represented H-E-B at the Gala. APAHA Scholarships Program chair is APAHA Co-Founder The Honorable Dr. Martha Wong.
Mark Russell and Natia Pelaez sponsored the professional dancers.
Guests stayed till late dancing on the open dance floor.
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Association (APAHA) was formed in 1992 to "promote awareness and understanding of the Asian/Pacific American culture and its diversity through education and celebration, focusing on May, the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), and continuing throughout the year." A non-profit, 501(c)3 organization, APAHA works to enhance racial harmony in the Greater Houston area by promoting cross-cultural awareness, education, and appreciation among APA and other ethnic groups; and by collaborating with community, government, business, and academic entities to provide ongoing educational, cultural, and scholarship programs to the APA and Greater Houston communities.
In June 1977, Representatives Frank Horton of New York and Norman Mineta of California introduced a House resolution that called upon the president to proclaim the first ten days of May as Asian/Pacific Heritage Week. In May 1990, the holiday was expanded further when President George H. W. Bush designated May to be Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. The U.S. Census Bureau lists more than 25 such groups -- Vietnamese, Chinese, Filipinos, Indian, Pakistani, Korean, Japanese, Cambodian, Laotian, Indonesian, Thai, Burmese, Malaysian, Taiwanese, Sri Lanka, Bangladeshi, and native Hawaiians, Polynesians, New Zealanders and Australians. As Americans, they contribute to the strength of the United States, help shape its future and share in its promise and opportunity.
For more information on APAHA, May's "Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month" events, and APAHA's yearlong Asian/Pacific American education, awareness, and celebration programs, please visit the APAHA website at http://www.apaha.org; or contact the Executive Director, Shehla Zakaullah at 713.784.1112 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.