Polish Heritage Day at the Polish and Slavic Center
The Polish and Slavic Center held this year’s celebration of the Polish Heritage Day in Brooklyn. The event was organized under the honorary patronage of the Consulate General of Poland in New York, and Consul General of Poland Adrian Kubicki.
“I wanted to congratulate the Polish and Slavic Center on undertaking the initiative to organize the Polish Heritage Day that promotes Polish culture and celebrates the contributions of Polish Americans to the cultural, social, and economic growth of New York and the entire country. I am happy that this celebration is held again. It unites and strengthens the Polish community,” wrote Consul General Kubicki in a letter that was read during the event by Consul Justyna Gollob-Park.
The Polish Heritage Day in Brooklyn is part of a nationwide celebration of October as the Polish Heritage Month in the United States. For a couple of years now, the Polish and Slavic Center, the biggest social and cultural non-profit in New York, has proudly taken the lead in organizing the Polish Heritage Day in Brooklyn.
This annual event recognizes the contributions of Polish immigrants and Polish Americans to the cultural, social, and economic growth of Brooklyn, New York City, as well as the entire New York Tri-State area.
Each year, during our annual Polish Heritage Celebration, the Brooklyn Borough President recognizes four outstanding members of the Polish-American community who have been the engines of cultural initiatives, social activities, and economic progress in our community. This year’s honorees also received Congressional recognition from Representative Nydia Velazquez and citations from the New York City Council.
This year’s honorees are:
Dorota Andraka – the President of the Polish Supplementary School Council of America
Andrzej Buczek – the Executive Director of the Polish American Folk Dance Company
Bożena Konkiel – Member of the Board of Directors of the Polish and Slavic Center
Paul Pachacz – Vice President of the Polish and Slavic Center
Marian Zak, president of the Polish and Slavic Center presented the honorees with citations on behalf of Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, and Dan Wiley, Director for North Brooklyn and Queens presented the Congressional recognitions from Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez. The citations from the New York City Council were presented by Councilman Lincoln Restler who represents District 33.
“I am deeply inspired by the accomplishments of all honorees. You have contributed a lot to our community. We are very grateful. Thank you for your work,” said CM Restler.
He also emphasized the role played by the Polish Slavic Center in Brooklyn. “For years, the PSC has been a home for immigrants from Poland who come to New York. It offers crucial social and immigration services, and where culture and history are celebrated. Greenpoint has been the epicenter of the Polish-American community of New York and beyond for generations. It is because of the hard work of the staff and the board of directors of the Polish and Slavic Center,” said CM Restler.
“Thank you, Marian Zak, the president of the Polish Slavic Center, and all that your organization does on behalf of the community – for adults, youth, and families, particularly for the immigration and legal assistance program. Rep. Velazquez is so happy to be back in Greenpoint after a 10-year hiatus,” added Dan Wiley, Director for North Brooklyn and Queens at rep. Velazquez’s office.
The PSC was honored to host other representatives of elected offices, including Emily Gallagher, NYS Assembly from District 50th, Hercules Reid, who represents the Office of New York City Mayor Erick Adams, and Shawna Morlock Director of Community Affairs in the Office of State Senator Kristen Gonzalez. “State senator always comments that Greenpoint is the most welcoming of communities and this is because of the Polish traditions. It is the epicenter of activism,” said Ms. Morlock.
The event was attended by a great number of Polish Americans and representatives of several Polish organizations, to name a few: the Piłsudski Institute, the Polish Culture Institute in New York, and the Polish School Council of America.
The cultural part of the evening consisted of performances by two Greenpoint folk groups that have for 85 years promoted the Polish folk culture through dance and song: Krakowianki and Górale, and the Polish American Folk Dance Company.
Apart from that three choirs filled the program with their repertoire. The first was the Krakus Senior Center Choir – an incredibly vibrant group of artists, and members of the Krakus Senior Club. Their performances are part of every most important event at the Polish Slavic Center. The second was the Jutrzenka Choir which operates under the leadership of Leokadia Juszczak and artistic director Nicholas Kaponyas. The signers meet for weekly rehearsals at the Polish and Slavic Center and actively perform at various events throughout New York. And finally, the Hejnał Choir, founded in 1988, is currently led by Mirosław Kostro and conductor Dariusz Ocetek. The choir regularly performs at various events in New York and enthusiastically cooperates with musicians open to new projects and initiatives.
The evening ended with a reception that featured the best dishes from Polish cuisine prepared by the staff from the Krakus Senior Center kitchen.
The event was organized with the financial support of the Polish and Slavic Federal Credit Union, Kobo Music Studio, Piłsudski Institute, The Platta Law Firm, M&A Projects Inc., Romuald Magda Esq., and the Polish Slavic Center.
Photos: Marcin Żurawicz