May 12, 2021 will always be a special day for the Southwest Management District and its executive director, Alice Cheng Lee.
Mayor Sylvester Turner declared it “Alice Cheng Lee Day” throughout the city in honor of her selfless work as an executive and volunteer for the good of southwest Houston and the city at large.
Click here to watch highlights of the presentation, which caught Lee by surprise.
The proclamation, presented at a City Council meeting a day earlier, described Lee as “exemplifying the indispensable contributions that foreign-born citizens make to the cultural dynamism of the Houston community.”
“She has tirelessly advocated for advancing the causes of Asian Americans and society, having worked on a volunteer basis for over 20 organizations, and has coordinated local distributions of food, facial masks, multilingual health information and census forms during the current health pandemic,” the proclamation added.
Lee oversees the services and related activities of the dynamic and diverse Southwest Management District, which includes Chinatown, the Gandhi District and Sharpstown.
She was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and the proclamation was presented in May because it is the annual Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the United States.
Lee is a partner in Hawes Hill and Associates LLP, which provides wide-ranging services to the management district, whose mission under state law includes public safety, economic development, graffiti and litter abatement and other efforts that supplement local government services.
Council Member Edward Pollard, whose council district includes much of the management district’s service area, had submitted the request for the proclamation — without telling Lee in advance, to prevent her from turning it down in her usual self-effacing way.
Lee had been encouraged to watch the council meeting via live video for an important announcement. As anticipated by Pollard and her co-workers, she thanked the mayor and council for the honor while humbly calling it “unnecessary.”
“She’s always behind the scenes, behind the camera, coordinating events, coordinating initiatives,” Pollard said. “There’s no better person I can think of to honor for her contributions to the city of Houston than Alice Lee.”
Citywide, Lee served on the mayor’s Police Reform Task Force, worked as a staffer for four City Council members and worked on a volunteer basis for more than 20 organizations, such as the Cure Covid Consortium Board, the Organization of Chinese Americans, the United Way, the Girl Scouts, the Kolter Elementary School PTO, the League of Women Voters, the
Chinese Community Center and Houston Community College.
“We appreciate the way you engage,” the mayor told Lee. “You’re just ‘a worker,’ you’re a servant out there, and you do it from your heart.”