Austin FC Honors Community Leaders For AAPI Heritage Month


Throughout the year, Austin FC celebrates the diversity that makes our city vibrant through a variety of activations and partnerships. These efforts are amplified during nationally observed months during which the Club leans into the opportunity to highlight the Beautiful People that make our City stand above the rest.

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this May, the Club is honoring community members in Central Texas whose efforts enrich the city, including Chi’lantro’s Jae Kim; Our Future’s Simran Sandhu; Asian Family Support Services of Austin’s Darlene Lanham; St. Edward's University’s Erica Zamora.  Each has a special connection to our city and the AAPI community. 

“I chose Austin to start my food truck business in 2010 because of the food culture. We are known for is vibrant and diverse food culture, from Tex-Mex to BBQ to Asian fusion. I knew my Korean Mexican fusion food truck would be well embraced in a city that appreciates unique and creative cuisine,” said Jae Kim, Founder & CEO of Chi'lantro. “Additionally,the Austin community has a reputation for supporting small businesses, which played a crucial role in my success. Lastly, Austin is a city that fosters an entrepreneurial spirit, and I received a lot of help and encouragement from the community as I grew my business.”

Simran Sandhu, Co-Founder of Our Future, concurred. 

“It came down to three things: the people, the food, and the energy. When we visited Austin, it was pretty clear that people here are warm and friendly,” Sandhu, who grew up in Indianana said. “Uniqueness is encouraged in Austin and it truly feels like a place where you can be yourself. Plus, who doesn’t love tacos and warm weather?”

For Darlene Lanham, Executive Director, Asian Family Support Services of Austin, it is here in Austin where her team gives voice to those who need it most.

“Together—with celebratory pride! Let’s keep lifting upour heritage, our stories, our diverse identities—becauseit’s working! Community and belonging are protective factors that reduce risk of violence”, said Lanham, whose organization serves women and children of domestic violence and sexual assault in 39 languages. “Rallying around a communal space, team, idea, game reminds us that while we may express our culture/fandom/individuality in different ways, we’re all human — and worth cheering for! There are no limits on love or cheering.”

Creating a sense of belonging is how Erica Zamora, Director of Student Diversity and Inclusion at St. Edward's University empowers young AAPI students.

“Cultivating spaces where people are free to be their full and best selves is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. Our office helps execute events and programs that help students share their culture and community with those around them and also develops events and programs that help them find community with others who have similar experiences,” said Zamora, who graduated from St. Edward’s University. “Events and spaces that share culture and invite people across differences are important because they allow us to identify similar threads and remind us that we are all in this together. Cultivating these spaces, places, and activities helps us build a stronger and wider community.

"The AAPI community is expansive, and there are so many stories, experiences, and histories to share. Empowering each other is an important commitment to understanding more than my own experience and staying aware of what is happening so that I can best help build up those around me.”