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  1. The Elevation of Tex-Mex
    Mico Rodriguez
  2. The Bounty of the Barnett Shale
    Kelcy Warren
  3. The Entrepreneurial Woman
    Tomima Edmark
  4. The Growth of the Vietnamese Community
    Jennifer Nguyen
  5. The Founding of Uptown
    Phil Cobb
  6. The Changing Face of Politics
    Craig Watkins
  7. The Brain Gain
    Dr. Hao Zhu
  8. The Four Sport Town
    Mike Modano
  9. The Underground Culture
    Katherine Owens
  10. The Catholic Migration
    Father Ivan Asencio
  11. The Organized South Asian Community
    John Hammond
  12. The Next Way to Develop
    Jeff Blackard
  13. The Allure of the Silicon Prairie
    Anousheh Ansari
  14. The lighting of Reunion Tower
    George Schrader
  15. The New Old Tradition
    Jennifer Moreno
  16. The Test Kitchen
    Mariel Street
  17. The Art Magnet
    Kevin Moriarty
  18. The Glamorous Return of Dallas Shopping
    Brian Bolke
  19. The Strengthening of the Gay Community
    Jack Evans and George Harris
  20. The Resurgence of Downtown Dallas
    Art Ortiz
  21. The Megachurch Boom
    Ed Young
  22. The Fundraisers
    Lynn McBee
  23. The Refuge
    Pedro Amaya
  24. The Reason Dallas Took Off
    Ron Barzyk
  25. The Girl Who Stayed Home
    Erykah Badu
  26. The Preservation of Our Historic Buildings
    Virginia McAlester
  27. The Thriving Ethiopian Community
    Birhan Mekonnen
  28. The New Dallas ISD
    Jessica Leija
  29. The Rebirth of the Trinity River
    Peter Payton
  30. The Trains Start Running
    Ladrika Davis Gross
  31. The Architect of an Art Scene
    Stephen Lapthisophon
  32. The Calculator That Changed the World
    Vonnie Howard
  33. The Rise and Fall and Rise of Deep Ellum
    Frank Campagna
  34. The Big Move
    Kendra Norwood
  35. The Expanding Empire in Fort worth
    Scott Hernandez
  36. The Family Recipe
    Chuy Cruz
  37. The Transformation of Oak Cliff
    David Spence
  38. The Now-Legal Immigrant
    Jesus Castillo Carrizales
  39. The City of Philanthropists
    Lyda Hill
  40. The Transplants
    Tara Vornkahl
00 The Organized South Asian Community Thursday, June 26, at 1:11pm at a political fundraiser he hosted

John Hammond

John Hammond defies categorization. He won’t volunteer information on his country of origin, religion, or political affiliation. He listened to his parents’ pleas for him to become a doctor or engineer and started businesses instead. He passed all of his CPA exams without studying, launched IT companies, and, ironically, a test prep academy. His marriage, a seemingly happy and successful one at that, was arranged; he would not have his children do the same. And in 2002, he started a business with one Indian movie theater and no comparison model to think of. It quickly expanded to a magazine, radio stations, banquet halls, and event services. He called it FunAsia. Why? 

“Well, it’s part of the South Asian community, so Asia comes from there,” Hammond says. “And fun is because that’s where you go and have fun.”

It’s that simple. Kind of. 

Hammond was witnessing tremendous growth in the South Asian community, with people emigrating directly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal, as well as from the coasts, often moving to Dallas for jobs as, you guessed it, doctors and engineers. Of North Texas’ foreign-born population today, nearly 8 percent is South Asian. Numbers were so small in 1970 that the census didn’t even break out these countries. With that growth, Hammond saw his opening.

On his radio stations, each country and religion are granted programming, as long as they don’t talk about any other country or religion. And any candidate can get support. Hammond threw fundraisers for both gubernatorial hopefuls, Gregg Abbott and Wendy Davis, and has pictures in his office with President Obama.

“Why do we want to limit ourselves?” Hammond asks. “We don’t. We want to stay involved. On both sides.”

The model has worked. Twelve years after the first Indian movie theater opened in Richardson, FunAsia has found more than its footing in the community, with Hammond at the helm, creating a powerful network of South Asians. 

“I’ve always firmly believed that I have a very short life to live,” Hammond says. “When I’m ready to achieve, I have a limited amount of time to achieve. Luckily I’m alive, so I have more to achieve.”