The second Autumn Lotus Ball was held on Friday October 24, 2014 at the Hyatt on Town Lake.The evening began with a VIP cocktail reception, followed by an exciting Asian-inspired gourmet dinner and live entertainment from the cast of Zach Scott Theater’s production The King and I.The program featured the 2014 Asian Image Award honorees: Victoria
Li, Alex & Lan Tan and Rais Bhuyan
Special Tribute to Mayor Lee Leffingwell,
who has been especially close to the Asian American community during his time in public office, both on City Council
and as Austin’s Mayor. Leffingwell is credited with the completion of the City of Austin AARC Facility during his tenure and has been the honorary chairman of the AARC Nonprofit’s Autumn Ball since the inception of the event.
Asian Image Awardee Honorees
Rais Bhuiyan is a Dallas-based technology professional and the co-founder of the nonprofit World Without Hate. In the week after 9/11, a man named Mark Stroman (the self proclaimed “Arab Slayer”) went on a hate-motivated killing spree and famously shot Bhuiyan in the face, killing two others and partially blinding Bhuiyan.Stroman was given the death penalty, but Bhuiyan publicly forgave him and actively worked to have him taken off death row. Although Stroman was executed in 2011 despite Bhuiyan’s efforts, his forgiveness helped Stroman reverse his white supremacist beliefs. Bhuiyan’s heroic story is the subject of a recently published book “The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas” by New York Times writer Anand Giridharadas and a forthcoming movie directed by Academy Award winner Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker). Bhuiyan’s honorable actions led him to be named
Esquire’s 2011 American of the Year, and to receive an Excellence for Human Service Award from United for Change.
Victoria Li has served as Department Director for City of Austin for the past 9 years, first Department of Watershed Protection and Development Review and now Watershed Protection. Before working with the City, Victoria was the executive director of the Texas Board of Professional Engineers. Ms. Li has served on numerous boards and commissions, including AISD budget review committee, commissioner of the Water & Waste Water Utility Commission,
City of Austin’s Smart Growth Task Force, the Board of CARITAS and the Travis County Hospital District Board. She was named a Community Health Care Hero by Austin Business Journal in 2009. Victoria currently chairs the Government Advisory Committee with the Professional Engineers’ Board and is on the Industry Advisory Board with Texas A&M Prairie View. She is also the Chair of the Austin,Texas chapter of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association.
Alex & Lan Tan are the husband and wife team behind Chinatown Center, an Austin landmark and commuter hub. The Tans are well known for their unfailing generosity to the local and international community and for contributing to the economic development of North Austin. They were among the first responders to the Dove Springs Halloween floods, sending a truckload of groceries and water from MT Supermarket. The Tans have also been active in international relief efforts, and are major donors to the American Red Cross in connection with Yolanda in the Philippines. Most recently, Chinatown Center donated to Walnut Creek Elementary
after a pre-kindergarten classroom fire.