BAH Raises Funds for a Center to Call Home


Photos: Muhib Shah and Bijay Dixit


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SUGAR LAND: The Bangladesh Association Houston held its Third Annual multicultural gala last Friday, May 13 at the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square to raise funds for the Bangladesh-American Center and celebrate Bangladeshi-American Heritage.  The Gala was attended by a huge contingent of local government and elected officials and drew in many supporters of the community.

The BAH is a non-profit 501c (3) organization, established in 1978, to cherish, promote and share the ideals and rich cultural heritage of Bangladesh with fellow Houstonians. Today there are over 20,000 Bangladeshis in the greater Houston area, including over 5,000 business owners, educators, and business leaders in medicine, real estate and oil and gas. It seeks to honor and empower its members, promote culture, education, healthcare and conduct outreach programs.

The emcee for the Gala was Cynthia Cisneros, reporter for KTRK-ABC TV (Channel 13). The opening ceremony of the Gala started with a color guard composed of officers from the Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff’s Department.  The US National Anthem was performed on the violin by two members of the Elsik High School Orchestra, which also provided entertainment later on, along with the conducted by the Elsik High School Choir. The Bangladeshi National Anthem was played through video on screens to both sides on the huge banquet hall, which was very tastefully decorated. Entertainment for the opening and during dinner was by local saxophonist Rickey Ford. The Gala, which was chaired by Dr. Selina Ahmed, raised over $150,000 to benefit the continued construction of the Bangladesh-American Center at Eldridge and Bissonnet.

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Selina Ahmed, Gala Chair

The keynote speaker for the evening was Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner who lauded the strength through diversity of the region.  State Representative Gene Wu delivered proclamation, Houston Interim Police Chief Martha Montalvo, Houston Interim Fire Chief Rodney West, Houston Councilwoman Amanda Edwards joined the award ceremony. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee delivered greetings via phone to audience, and Senator John Cornyn, Congressman Pete Olson, State Senator Rodney Ellis sent their representatives. In attendance were Joe Zimmerman, City Councilman, Sugar Land; Dr. Bandula Wijay, former Honorary Consul General of Sri Lanka; the Consul General of Turkey Ferhat Alkan; Tahir Javed and Muhammad Saeed Sheikh.

In addition, the Gala handed out awards to many of its ardent supporters and Board members. Awards were given to Dr. Selina Ahmed, Sylvester Turner; Cynthia Cisneros ; Qasim and Noreen Sharif, CEO, Stratum Energy, Gala Chief Adviser and Patron, Outstanding Philanthropic Honoree; Mohammad Giasuddin and  Nazma Parveen Khan, Outstanding Philanthropic Honoree; Amanul and Sandra Syed, Outstanding Philanthropic Honoree; Shahid and Sharon Ullah, Outstanding Philanthropic Honoree; Dr. Amirul Islam, BAC Community Clinic; Lutfor and Tahmina Rahman, Fundraising Support to Bangladesh-American Center Honoree; Mohammad and Afsana Hasan, Fundraising Support to Bangladesh-American Center Honoree; Mohammed Moniruz and Shermin Zaman, Fundraising Support to  Bangladesh-American Center Honoree; Shumana Salauddin, Exemplary Leadership Award and new Founding Members  – Rumana Chowdhury,  Mohammed Moinuddin, Saleha Moin.

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In the colorful souvenir printed for the Gala, there were messages from Texas Governor Greg Abbott; Mayor Sylvester Turner; Congresswoman  Sheila Jackson Lee; Congressman Al Green; Ambassador of Bangladesh to US Mohammad Ziauddin;  Consul General Republic of Turkey Ferhat Alkan; Senator Ted Cruz; Senator John Cornyn; State Representative Gene Wu; Harris County Judge Ed Emmett; HPD Chief Martha I. Montalvo; Sugar Land  Mayor James Thompson; Mayor of Missouri City Allen Owen; Councilman Steve Lee and Councilwoman Ellen Cohen.

The BAH thanked the sponsors of the Gala; Mr. Plata and the Elsik Choir; Elsik HS Orchestra; H PD and HCSD Color Guards; Star Co. Impex; Home Defined; Dream Décor; Ricco; Astro Apparel & Uniforms; Shahnai Restaurant; Realm Real Estate Professionals; Sign Max USA; Chemmanur International Jewellers Inc. and Boby & Maradona Finance & Investment; Agami TV; Nirvana Restaurant; Sam’s Club; Shah Haleem Brokerage; Central Security Group; Excel N Exit Tutorial; Azadul Haq; Wallis State Bank ; Blalock Auto; Kroger; G.I Center; Aisha’s Salon and Spa; LS Accounting and Tax services; George Willy Law Firm; Montessori Preschool at Copperfield; American Container; Law Office of D’Ann Hinkle; Sylvia’s Closet and Turkish Airlines