Houston Public Media and Houston First are paying tribute to the diversity in our region by spotlighting Houstonians from various communities in conjunction with national awareness months.

  • Pride Month

  • Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Melanie Pang

Government Relations Officer | Houston Food Bank

Melanie advocates for equitable policies that drive efficiencies in service to those experiencing poverty. Melanie grew up in Missouri City as the youngest of four children to a Chinese father and Filipino mother. Pang earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2010 from the University of Houston. She was one of the first students to minor in GLBT studies and served as president of GLOBAL, the school’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, inter-sex and asexual alliance. She went on to a master’s degree in social work, and was named social worker of the year in 2015 by the local chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. She has been featured in OutSmart magazine’s list of emerging LGBTQ women leaders.

Kirby Liu

Director of Development | Lovett Commercial

Kirby is a design and real estate developer that aims to reinvigorate Houston’s downtown neighborhoods and celebrate Houston’s diversity by creating arts, entertainment, dining and retail hubs that bridge the gap between culture and innovation. The impactful developer is devoted to building vibrant communities and enriching neighborhoods, and is currently involved in a project called POST Houston that is reimagining the former Barbara Jordan Post Office in Downtown. Liu graduated with distinction from Darmouth College and studied architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

Lorin "Lo" Roberts

President & CEO | Pride Houston

Lorin Roberts is a pediatric nurse, mother of two children, and the President & CEO of Pride Houston. Lo has been a volunteer with Pride Houston for more than ten years, and currently serves as the organization’s first black female queer leader. Lo is passionate about supporting people of color within the LGBTQIA community, and committed to giving everyone, including LGBTQIA allies, a chance to feel like they can be themselves.

Jessica Oswald

Grade Level Chair & History Teacher | YES Prep Public Schools

Jessica Oswald is a Grade Level Chair and an Advanced Placement U.S. History Teacher at YES Prep White Oak. Jessica earned a double major in public relations and sociology from Sam Houston State University, and a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on education policy from Stephen F. Austin State University. Jessica has taught students from elementary to high school and was named Teacher of the Year by Nacogdoches ISD in 2016. She previously served on the Delta Xi Nu Multicultural Sorority, Inc. National Board of Directors.

Wendy N. Duong, Notable Asian Pacific American

Notable Asian Pacific American

Wendy N. Duong

As a teenager in 1975, Wendy Duong fled South Vietnam with her family during the Fall of Saigon. Eventually she came to Houston to make history of her own. Duong received a JD degree from the University of Houston Law Center, and an LLM degree from Harvard Law School. Then in June of 1992 at the Municipal Court in downtown Houston, Wendy Duong became the first Vietnamese American Judge in the United States.

Ray Hill, Notable Asian Pacific American

Notable LGBTQ Figure

Ray Hill

Ray Hill was an activist for gay rights from the 1960s until his death in 2018. Always a catalyst for change, Ray organized groups or protests to bring attention to LGBT issues. In the late 60s he co-organized the first gay rights group in Houston, and in 1976 helped start Houston’s first gay pride parade. Among his many other accomplishments, Ray Hill organized a protest of a 1977 Anita Bryant concert, created “Town Hall Meeting I” which inspired the creation of many other LGBT organiztions, and brought attention to the murder of Paul Broussard, arguing in the media that it was a hate crime. He once earned the derisive nickname “Citizen Provocateur” and ended up wearing it as a badge of honor.