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The Polish American Congress (PAC)


11-06-2017
ostatnia aktualizacja 11-08-2017, 04:58

YOUR POLISH AMERICAN CONGRESS IN ACTION



The Polish American Congress (PAC)

James L. Ławicki II
President, Polish American Congress
Western New York Division Inc.

From time to time the question will arise, "Well what exactly is the Polish American Congress (PAC) and what does it do"?

My usual response is to clarify what the organization is not. It is not a political lobbying organization due to its 501c3 charitable status, nor is it a social club that focuses exclusively on social gatherings and merrymaking.

The Polish American Congress is a national organization which was founded in Buffalo, New York in 1944 with the goal of serving as the official "Umbrella Organization" for the entire Polish American Community in Western New York.

Nationally the Polish American Congress is a federation of over 3000 Polish American organizations and clubs, ranging from national fraternal benefit societies, such as the Polish National Alliance, Polish Women's Alliance, Polish Roman Catholic Union, Polish Falcons and others, including veteran, cultural, professional, religious and social associations, with aggregate membership of over one million. The PAC by-laws also provide for individual memberships as well as associate memberships.

With 41 State Divisions and Chapters, the Polish American Congress is represented throughout the entire United States.

The PAC promotes civic, educational and cultural programs designed to further not only the knowledge of Polish history, language and culture, but to stimulate Polish American involvement and accomplishments.

Locally the Polish American Congress has been in action and engaged in several important projects for the advancement of Western New York Polonia and its people.

After just about 16 months - a short time - the organization and its active Board Members have been involved in the following activities:

ADDRESS INFRASTRUCTURE AND SECURITY

Met with City of Buffalo elected officials to address much needed infrastructure improvements contiguous to our cultural assets on the City's East Side in what is commonly regarded as the "Polonia District."
Further, sought a plan to address urban blight, promote redevelopment, and public safety.

CONFRONT SUNY BUFFALO

Confronted the State University of New York at Buffalo regarding the Polish Studies Program and Kosciuszko Foundation Visiting Professor program. For nearly 3 years the institution has failed to provide adequate funding for the programs. Our organization will not be satisfied until the programs receive funding similar to other cultural groups.

STRENGTHEN RELATIONSHIPS WITH ELECTED OFFICIALS

As a community of nearly 300,000 individuals, Polish Americans are one of the largest voting constituency groups in Western New York. It is imperative that the voices of the people be appropriately represented to all elected officials at the Federal, State, County, and Local levels. To this end, the leadership of the PAC maintains regular contact with various public officials for the benefit of Polonia.

The PAC is also exploring options for a separate organization to serve as a political arm or Political Action Committee. This arm would be available to support candidates and engage in political activities.

FAIR AND EQUITABLE TREATMENT

Maintain that the Polish American community gets equitable and fair representation for grant funding. Regardless of government or non-government agency, the Polish American culture is important to the region and should receive appropriate funding for its activities. This funding should be at parity with other cultural groups in the area.

STRENGTHEN RELATIONSHIPS WITH CANADIAN PARTNERS.

Because much of the area's history is shared with our Polish Canadian neighbors, ex. Haller's Blue Army and Camp Kosciuszko, the PAC works to maintain an amicable working relationship with the Canadian Polish Congress and other like organizations on a regular basis. Meetings and activities occur annually.

ADDRESS DISCRIMINATORY BEHAVIOR IN THE COMMUNITY.

Despite being a modern society, discrimination towards Polish Americans continues to rear its ugly head from time to time. To this end the PAC has formed an independent Anti-Discrimination Committee to review, assess, and determine appropriate action when discriminatory behavior occurs within our community.

EXPAND POLISH LANGUAGE IN KEY SCHOOL DISTRICTS.

According to recent data from the Piast Institute, only 10% of the Western New York PolAm community speaks Polish. To this end the PAC met with State officials to explore ways to have the Polish language available in high schools either as a routine language offering or through a voucher program where students could participate in existing programs in the community like Polish Saturday School.

COLLABORATE WITH OTHER CULTURAL ORGANIZATIONS TO PROMOTE POLISH CULTURE.

Working with Polish American community leaders, the PAC recently engaged with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra to discuss their upcoming trip to Poland and ways in which the organization can further expand its presence in the Polish American Community. A real desire exists by the BPO to present the works of Polish composers and performers.

DIALOGUE WITH POLISH AMERICAN PRIESTS TO EXPLORE WAYS TO STRENGTHEN OUR CHURCHES

Various members of the PAC have been actively engaged in meeting with Polish American priests to cultivate novel approaches to engage the community and bolster participation at Mass and various Church sponsored activities. These activities included but are not limited to the celebration of Poland's anniversary of Christianity by Bishop Malone at St. Joseph Cathedral.

PARTNER AND COLLABORATE WITH MEMBER GROUPS.

The PAC recently worked with the Kosciuszko Foundation and its leadership to sponsor a strongly attended community event at the Buffalo History Museum honoring the legacy of General Kosciuszko. Noted scholar, Dr. James Pula, served as guest speaker. In addition, the PAC sponsored a reception in support of the Chopin Singing Society's annual concert at St. Stanislaus Church.

RELATIONSHIP WITH POLAND

Consul General Maciej Golubiewski recently spent four days in Western New York at the request of the Polish American Congress. During his visit he spent an entire morning meeting with the PAC Board and leaders from the Polish American Community. He also met with various Federal, State, County, and Local elected officials. Following his first official visit, the Consul General expressed admiration for Western New York and pledged his support for the region and our community.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

By bringing to fruition the Polonia Trail and running events like Zupapalooza, Kulig Winter Festival, Swieconka, and participating with a float in the annual Pulaski Parade, the PAC works to promote its visibility and engage both Polish Americans and non-Polish Americans in appreciating our rich diverse culture and heritage.

This is just a brief synopsis of your Polish American Congress in action and the work performed by its all volunteer Board of Directors for the greater of Western New York Polonia. We do what we do because we care about the future of our community. Please join us in keeping Western New York Polonia vibrant and great!

 
  
 
 

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