Monday, October 12, 2009

October - Polish American Heritage Month

October has been traditionally celebrated as Polish American Heritage Month.
Polish translation is "Miesiąc Dziedzictwa Polskiego".
It's a National Celebration of Polish History, Culture and Pride.
In Cooperation with the Polish American Congress and Polonia across America.

The main point of  Polish American Heritage Month is to highlight the contributions Poles and Polonians have made to America and the world as a whole, celebrate various facets of our cultural heritage and share its beauty with the community at large.

Polish American Heritage Month was first celebrated in 1981 in Pennsylvania.

This year Polish Americans mark the 399th anniversary of the arrival of the first Polish settlers in America at Jamestown, Virginia in 1608. This October Heritage Month theme is "Tracing Your Heritage" in preparation for next year's 400th anniversary of the settlers' arrival.

A Polish American (Polish: Amerykanin polskiego pochodzenia), is a citizen of the United States of Polish descent. There are an estimated 10 million such Polish Americans, representing about 3% of the population of the United States.

Things to do during Polish American Heritage Month

Community Wide

1. Meet with your local Polish American organizations to discuss a successful, well-coordinated Polish American Heritage Month event.

2. Request local elected officials to present a proclamation or special greetings to the Polish American community.

3. Offer a Mass at your local church for the intention of your area Polish American community and invite everyone to attend. Following the Mass, hold a reception with Polish pastries and refreshments, welcoming all in the spirit of Polish hospitality.

4. Sponsor an event to honor noted men and women of Poland. During October we mark the death of American Revolutionary War Hero General Casimir Pulaski on October 15th. You can conduct a tribute ceremony in front of a portrait of Pulaski. You can also consider honoring people such as Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Fryderyk Chopin, Marie Sklodowska Curie and others.

5. Encourage people to display Polish and American flags and Polish American Heritage Month posters in their homes, organizational headquarters, banks, businesses, etc. Flags, posters and banners help bring attention to the fact that October is National Polish American Heritage Month and that Polonia is celebrating proudly. Sample posters are available from the Heritage Month link on the Museum’s Internet site at: PolishAmericanCenter.com

6. Sponsor a lunch or dinner social with Polish food, music and entertainment.

Youth Activities

1. Organize an essay contest in your local schools. Complete information on sponsoring an essay contest is available from the Museum’s Internet site. You can award prizes during a school assembly or public event to encourage participation from parents and students alike. Ask local businesses and organizations to help sponsor the event and offer prizes. This is also a way to involve local teachers as judges of the essay contest.

2. Sponsor a coloring contest. Art work samples are available upon request from the national committee or you can download coloring forms from the Museum’s Internet site. The coloring contest remains very popular in schools.

Ask local art students to organize and judge the entries. Ask a local printer to reprint the artwork for your committee at no charge with the name of his business at the bottom as an advertisement.

3. Sponsor a children’s music or dance recital to highlight Polish music or dance in a local auditorium, school hall or recreation center. There are children's groups that would appreciate this type of exposure. It’s a great way to get people together for a positive event involving young people. Invite the general public to attend.

4. Sponsor a Polish poster art contest requesting area schools to highlight Polish history and culture through student art. Display their art works and sponsor an award ceremony.

Cultural Displays

1. Organize a display at your local shopping mall or library featuring Polish books, arts and crafts, wycinanki and paintings by Polish American artists. Contact local artists and request them to display their works at the local library, parish hall, organization hall, public or office building lobby.

Media Contact & General Advertising

1. Display Polish American Heritage Month posters. Sample posters are available from the National Committee, or they can be downloaded from the Heritage Month link on the Museum’s Internet site at: PolishAmericanCenter.org. You can reprint these posters and encourage local stores, banks, supermarkets, churches and organizations to display the posters throughout the month of October.

2. Contact your local newspapers, radio and TV stations to tell them about National Polish American Heritage Month and your local activities.

3. Ask local radio programs to mention your area Polish American events during October as part of their community bulletin board or public service announcements. (Every radio station is required to give time for public service announcements.) You can also ask your radio stations to play a few selections written by Polish composers over the centuries and recorded by internationally famous artists. This is a way for them to bring attention to Polish American Heritage Month and highlight Polish composers.

4. Ask local organizations, banks, businesses and elected leaders to place a "POLISH AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH SALUTE" advertisement in local newspapers or on local radio or TV programs. Placing these salutes each week during the month of October will remind everyone about POLISH AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH. (The National Committee has an artwork for the newspaper, radio and TV salutes available upon request.)

5. Ask area high school and college students of Polish descent to assist you with press releases, public service announcements and other activities. Often this is a way for younger students to get extra credit for school and will allow them to be part of the Polish American Heritage Month celebration. Possibly there are individuals in your community with children who could be called upon to assist you with publicity and other efforts.

Family & Friends

1. Start your family tree and invite all the members of your family to get involved.

2. Review a map of Poland and learn more about the town or city of your ancestors.

3. Read a book on Polish history and share that information with family and friends.

4. Attend a Polish American event and invite others to attend with you.

5. Display a Polish and American flag, a red and white bow, or a Heritage Month poster in your home or place of business.

6. Learn more about Polish customs and share that information with others.

7. Join a Polish American organization and get involved in some way.

For more information contact the National Headquarters:
Polish American Heritage Month Committee - Michael Blichasz, National Chairman
National Headquarters: Polish American Cultural Center Museum
308 Walnut Street • Philadelphia, PA 19106 • (215) 922-1700

Get involved!!!

As everyone of us have contributed to the success of America, now is the time to show others who you are, where you came from, and what you do. Teachers, scientists, athletes, businessmen, politicians and diplomats, artists, writers, actors,.. the list goes on for ever and in it, include yourself.
Speaking to others, let them know you are proud of your heritage, from where you, your parents, grand-parents, great grandparents come from. The contributions made to America, from the first Polish settlers in Jamestown, Virginia as craftsmen and artisans, and leaders in the fight for representation, to astronaut Dr. James Pawelczyk, third generation Polish American and mission specialist for the latest missions of the space shuttle, are immense.

The first Poles in North America arrived in the Virginia Colony in 1608. Early Polish immigrants of note included Jacob Sodowski, Kazimierz Pułaski and Tadeusz Kościuszko, who were active in America around the time of the Revolutionary War. Overall, more than one million Poles immigrated to the United States, primarily during the late 19th and early 20th century. Exact immigration numbers are unknown. Due to the partitions of Poland, the Polish state did not exist at the time, when the precursor to the Immigration and Naturalization Service classified immigrants, according to country of origin, rather than to ethnicity. In particular, the three partitions gave rise to the terms Russian, German and Austrian Poles, as seen in the context of Polish immigration to the United States.

According to the 2000 United States Census, 667,414 Americans of age 5 years and older, reported Polish as the language spoken at home, which is about 1.4% of the census groups who speak a language other than English or 0.25% of the U.S. population.
The census is a count of everyone living in the United States every 10 years.
The next census is in 2010.

One of the most beautiful and magic beach cities in Poland is Świnoujście located on 44 islands.
Poland - The most stunning women, delicious food, breathtaking Polish nature, fascinating, yet heartbreaking history and, of course Polish lingerie!

Few famous merited Polish:
Pope John Paul II - born Karol Józef Wojtyła, second largest pontificate, first non-Italian Pope since 1520s, one of the most influential leaders in 20th century
John Cardinal Król - Archbishop of Philadelphia from 1961 to 1988, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1967

Mieczyslaw Bekker - engineer and scientist/inventor - first vehicle on the moon
Tadeusz Sendzimir - engineer and inventor - mining and metallurgy; revolutionary methods of processing steel and metals
Ralph Modjeski - pre-eminent bridge designer, San Francisco Bay Bridge
diplomacy and politics
George Pataki, 53rd Governor of New York, serving three consecutive 4-year terms
Wladimir Krzyżanowski - Polish military leader and a brigade commander in the Union Army during the American Civil War; the first governor of Alaska
Barbara Mikulski - United States Senator representing the State of Maryland
Frank Murkowski - politician, former Governor of Alaska
Zbigniew Brzezinski - political scientist, geostrategist, and statesman who served as United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter
Lech Wałęsa - politician and a former trade union and human rights activist, co-founded Solidarity (Solidarność), the Soviet bloc's first independent trade union, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and served as President of Poland from 1990 to 1995

movies, TV
Mika Emilie Leonia Brzezinski - TV news journalist at MSNBC, co-host of MSNBC's weekday morning program "Morning Joe"
Janusz Kaminski - two time Oscar winning cinematographer and film director who has photographed all of Steven Spielberg's movies since 1993's "Schindler's List"
Roman Polanski - director "Rosemary's Baby", "Chinatown", "The Pianist", "Oliver Twist"
Martha Stewart - business magnate, television host, author and magazine publisher
Helena Modjeska (Modrzejewska) - Polish, European and American actress who specialized in Shakespearean and tragic roles
Pola Negri - film actress, femme fatale in silent movies between 1910-1930
Stefanie Powers - actress and singer, 'The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.'; emmy-award winning TV show 'Hart to Hart', also an outstanding polo player
Loretta Swit - stage and TV actress, "MASH"
Gloria Swanson - film actress of the silent film era as both an actress and a fashion icon
Ross Martin- TV and film actor, "Wild Wild West"
Ted Knight -  film and TV actor "Mary Tyler Moore Show", has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Carroll Baker - movie legend, screen legend, sex symbol, 60s-70s film actress and author
Pia Zadora - actress and singer, "Butterfly", "Hairspray"

Basia (Barbara Trzetrzelewska) - singer-songwriter and record producer, wide vocal range - 3 octaves from contralto to soprano, jazz-influenced stylings and multi-layered harmonies
Leopold Stokowski - orchestral conductor, well known for his free-hand performing style
Bronislaw Kaper - film and musical composer

Stan Musial - Major League Baseball player for the St. Louis Cardinals, Outfielder / First baseman
Carl Yastrzemski - former American Major League Baseball player, Boston Red Sox
Mike Ditka - former American football NFL player, television commentator, and coach, Ditka's Restaurant
Mike Krzyzewski - head coach of the Duke University men's basketball team and the 2008 gold medal-winning U.S. men's Olympic basketball team
Bronko Nagurski - football, Chicago Bear and successful professional wrestler, recognized as a multiple-time world heavyweight champion

Other links

Polish Film Festival LA www.polishfilmLA.org

Polish American Association http://www.polish.org

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