Houston: Courage Always Triumphs

July 17, 2023
1 min read
Barbara J. Herz, Vanessa Williams and Buddy Herz

Holocaust Museum Houston Gala Honors Dr. Peter Hotez, Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi And Features Performance By Vanessa Williams

By Rob Giardinelli     Photography by Priscilla Dickson and Gary Fountain

THE SCENE: The Hilton Americas in Houston was the recent setting for one of the city’s most notable and largest spring social events. Over 1,100 philanthropists, sociables, and community leaders turned out for the Holocaust Museum Houston’s annual LBJ Moral Courage Award Dinner. The evening featured touching tributes, emotional testimonials, and dazzling musical performances that culminated in a seven-figure fundraising total.

THE VIBE: The black tie crowd began the evening with a VIP reception where guests had the opportunity to mingle with the guests of honor, Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi and Dr. Peter Hotez, for their work in developing a patent-free COVID-19 vaccine and musical guest star Vanessa Williams. Guests then proceeded to the foyer of the Hilton Americas Houston ballroom for a fun cocktail hour, where guests mingled and sipped on their favorite spirits.

The action then moved to the Hilton Americas ballroom for the evening’s program. Guests dined on multi-course kosher meals and were treated to words from organization’s leaders including Holocaust Museum Houston’s CEO, Dr. Kelly Zúñiga, as well as touching testimonials and tributes that included a moment where holocaust survivors were asked to stand. Next, Dr. Hotez and Dr. Bottazzi each delivered moving words about their work that provided life-saving COVID vaccines to tens of millions.

To cap off the evening, iconic pop singer Vanessa Williams put on a concert for the audience that brought them to their feet. The singer performed several of her biggest hits including Love Is, The Sweetest Days, and Save the Best for Last, and returned to the stage for an encore performing the hit song, Work to Do.

THE NON-PROFIT: The event, co-chaired by Fady Armanious and Bill Baldwin, raised over $1.7 million for the Holocaust Museum Houston. The museum is dedicated to educating people about the holocaust while remembering the six million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the legacy of survivors. Proceeds raised from the event will go towards funding programs and initiatives at the museum.

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