From the Desk of Michael Blichasz
Polish American Cultural Center and
Polish American Congress
Eastern Pennsylvania District
Dear Members, Friends and Supporters,
During October as we celebrate National ï¿½Polish American Heritage Monthï¿½, we often hear about
the first Polish settlers who came to America and settled in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1608, 396 years
ago. Since then there have been many waves of immigrants from Poland, seeking the American
dream of freedom, peace and justice. They settled in hundreds of towns and cities across the U.S.A.,
building churches, schools, fraternal, educational, social, and cultural organizations. Over the years
thousands of Polish Americans have distinguished themselves in every aspect of American life;
science, art, music, entertainment, politics, religion and the military. There have also been thousands
of Polish American leaders who worked to maintain the traditions, faith and pride of their Polish
ancestors. Iï¿½m pleased to say that, because of their efforts, the hearts of Polish Americans continue
to beat proudly.
Today, of the 294 million Americans listed in the 2000 census, more than 20 million share
Polish heritage. Ten million individuals list themselves as being of total Polish background,
while another ten million share partial Polish heritage along with other ethnic groups who also
came to America seeking the American dream. Polish Americans live in all 50 states and remain
a vibrant part of the American economy and the rich and comprehensive mosaic of America.
As the sixth largest ethnic group in America, Polish Americans can be proud of their
Over the last few years we have reviewed the responses received regarding the family background
information which is listed on the back of the Polish American Congress annual coloring contest form. Each year, 20,000 students participate in this effort. We also speak with people visiting the Polish American Cultural Center Museum in Historic Philadelphia. Many state their family background is 100 percent Polish, while others note that they share a partial Polish heritage with one or more nationalities. The three most listed on the coloring forms were: Polish & Irish, Polish & Italian, Polish & German. The most important thing we learned in this process is that people were proud to identify their Polish and multi-cultural heritage. When you look at the overall picture of how Polish heritage is highlighted in America, the immigrants who instilled their faith, culture, traditions and pride in their children and grandchildren certainly made a great impact on their families.
The challenge for the future is to encourage all people to continue to celebrate their heritage,
so that future generations can speak highly of the cherished traditions of the past. In todayï¿½s
fast-paced world, there is less time to do the little things in life. However, itï¿½s worth the effort
to retain those treasured traditions in the Great Ethnic Mosaic of America. I encourage you to read the other articles listed in this newspaper highlighting the Polish American Agenda and how important Polonia in America is to the present and future well-being of the U.S.A.
My best wishes to you and yours for an enjoyable Polish American Heritage Month.
Some of the reasons why Polish Americans
are outstanding citizens of Pennsylvania and the
United States of America
1. Polish Americans are a major asset to the State of Pennsylvania and every state where they live. They consistently pay their fair share of taxes including income, wage, business, sales, and real estate taxes.These taxes make up a sizable portion of the revenue generated for municipal, state and federal government services.
2.They remain outstanding property owners who pride themselves with ongoing building maintenance, which in turn promotes real estate values and reduces crime.
3.They strive to maintain the communities where they live as clean, safe places, which in turn reduces law enforcement costs and adds to the quality of local communities.
4.They support educational alternatives for their children and the right of families to choose public, private or parochial schools. Very often, while increasing their own financial burdens, they select private and parochial schools, providing yet another tax reduction for taxpayers.
5.They support the mission of organizations like Polish American Social Services and others that assists individuals of all ages within their own communities. This saves considerable expense in the delivery of social services, especially when assisting individuals with language barriers to self-sufficiency. Polish Americans represent a major portion of the tax base for municipal, state and federal governments and make considerable contributions to social, cultural and educational programs, which benefit the general population.
6.Polish Americans sponsor public events to promote positive publicity and goodwill for the communities where they live.
These are a few examples why Polish Americans are an important part of America and its tax base. When Polish Americans ask for something, the request should be a top priority to local and national elected officials. In reality, it is a portion of Polish American tax dollars that make state-wide services, national services and international grants possible in the first place.
PAC American Agenda
Goals and Objectives
The Polish American Congress works with its member organizations to achieve the following:
1. To unify people of Polish ancestry in the United States.
2. To encourage the growth of Polish American fraternal, educational, cultural, social, youth, parish, civic, veteran and professional associations.
3. To encourage exposure to Polish history and culture in schools, parishes and cultural institutions.
4. To acquaint people of Polish ancestry with their rights, privileges and duties as American citizens.
5. To maintain active liaison with local, state and federal government officials regarding the needs and concerns of Americans of Polish ancestry.
6. To protect the good name of Americans of Polish ancestry in political, national, social, and economic matters.
7. To react at a time of crisis when the needs and concerns of Polonia must be represented.
8. To inform the American public about the Polish American community and Polandï¿½s role in history.
9. To inform Americans of Polish ancestry of actions taken by the Polish American Congress to assist
people of Polish ancestry.
10.To promote radio, TV and print media which inform and unite Polish Americans.
Take pride in your Polish heritage visit-
Links to Polish pages on the WWW http://www.stjoenj.net/polishlinks.html
Pass this page on to your Polish friends.