Award to Be Presented Nov. 18

HOUSTON, TX (Oct. 30, 2008) – As one of Houston’s foremost institutions promoting cultural awareness, diversity and fighting hatred, Holocaust Museum Houston will be honored as a “Community of Respect” by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Southwest Region this November.

The designation is awarded by the ADL based on its commitment to a “Resolution of Respect” that pledges the Museum will combat prejudice and work to stop those who, because of hate or ignorance, would cause harm to or violate the civil rights of any individual. The Museum also was cited for completing the required three activities that empower participants to promote respect for individual and group differences while challenging prejudice and bigotry.

The honor will be presented by the ADL during the Museum’s annual Guardian of the Human Spirit Award Luncheon, beginning at 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008, at the Hilton-Americas Houston, 1600 Lamar St., in downtown Houston.

“We are proud of Holocaust Museum Houston’s commitment to fighting hate and bigotry through their many education and exhibit programs. We are especially pleased to recognize the Museum to acknowledge their important contributions to promoting respect and understanding for all peoples,” ADL Southwest Regional Director Martin B. Cominsky said in announcing the honor. “The Museum completed its requirements in record time, partly because it works toward making Houston a Community of Respect every day.”

The first activity completed by the Museum was its work on “Law Enforcement in Society” classes, which are held at the Museum in conjunction with the ADL and the Houston Police Department. The class helps law enforcement officers examine their role in modern-day society against the backdrop of the Holocaust.

A second activity which counted toward the designation included the Museum’s “Youth and the Law” program, which together with the Mayor of Houston’s Anti-Gang Task Force and the Houston Housing Authority works to promote tolerance, mutual respect and understanding in at-risk students and gang-affiliated adolescents.

The Museum also submitted its Cultivating Coexistence Student Forums as an activity that counted toward its Community of Respect designation. The program brings together students from different schools to learn about ways to create a more peaceful and inclusive learning and community environment.

More than 900 people are expected to be in attendance at the luncheon when the designation is bestowed.
This year’s luncheon honors long-time community leader Marc Shapiro. The Museum established the Guardian of the Human Spirit award in 1997 as a platform for acknowledging dedicated Houstonians who have worked to enhance the lives of others and to better humankind.

Shapiro has a long history of community involvement. During his career, he has served as chairman of the Greater Houston Partnership, chairman of the Houston United Way Campaign, and as founding chairman of the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.

In 2005, Shapiro and his wife Jeri co-chaired the Museum’s Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award Dinner, raising more than $2 million to support ongoing educational programs that promote awareness of the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy.

A strong believer in the importance of the Texas Medical Center, he served for many years as a member of the board of the Harris County Hospital District. He is currently vice chair of the board of Baylor College of Medicine and immediate past chairman of the Board of Visitors of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. He also serves on the board of BioHouston and on the Menninger Board of Visitors. Across Main Street, he is a member of the Board of Trustees of Rice University and the Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Shapiro is a native Houstonian who graduated from Kinkaid High School, completed his undergraduate work at Harvard and gained his master’s in business administration at Stanford Business School.

He began a banking career in 1972 at Texas Commerce Bank, and his progression through the Texas Commerce organization included service as chief financial officer beginning in 1977. In 1989, after the bank was purchased by J.P. Morgan Chase, he was named chief executive officer of the statewide organization. He moved to New York to work for the parent company in 1997 as vice chairman for finance and risk management.

Since his return to Houston in 2003, he has served as non-executive chairman of Chase Bank of Texas. He is also a director of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, The Mexico Fund and Weingarten Realty Investors.

This year’s luncheon is chaired by Murry Bowden and James Crownover.

Proceeds from the luncheon presentation are used to continue the Museum’s worldwide educational programming and its policy of free admission to the general public so that there is never a financial barrier to anyone interested in learning the lessons of the Holocaust. For ticket information, call 713-942-8000, ext. 129 or e-mail

Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors’ legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy.

Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004. For more information about the Museum, call 713-942-8000 or visit