Polish American Congress
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Office and Meeting Place
Polish American Cultural Center
308 Walnut Street • Philadelphia, PA 19106 • (215) 739-3408

Brief History

 
After the founding meeting of the National Polish American Congress in Buffalo, New York, in 1944, the group of Polish American leaders from the Philadelphia area who attended the meeting in Buffalo, New York met to organize a local PAC Division for the Polonia in Southeastern, PA. After receiving all of the necessary information necessary to organize a new PAC division that would serve the Southeastern Pennsylvania area from the national Polish American Congress office, several planning meetings were held and then the first community-wide meeting was scheduled. The first meeting took place in the Polish American Association Hall, 2808 East Allegheny Avenue in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia on Sunday, February 25, 1945. Over 400 people from the City of Philadelphia and surrounding counties attended this founding meeting of the Eastern Pennsylvania District, including representatives from 17 Polish parishes, 156 Polish American organizations, 5 Polish newspapers and guests. Everyone in attendance agreed that a new division of the PAC was necessary in the Philadelphia area and that they would support the goals of the national organization, which were to unite Polonia across America and to defend Poland. Delegates at that February 25, 1945 meeting elected Mieczyslaw Dombrowski as the first President of the PAC, Eastern Pennsylvania District.

Since 1945, the officers and members of the PAC, Eastern Pennsylvania District have worked closely with the national organization to support its objective of helping Poland gain her freedom from Communist Russia, and to unite Polish Americans of all generations to maintain their Polish heritage in their organizations, churches and schools. Since its founding in 1945, the PAC Eastern Pennsylvania District has been an effective umbrella organization for its member groups and continues to be the uniting force in sponsoring major public activities in the City of Philadelphia and Southeastern, Pennsylvania.

For more than 50 years, the PAC has worked to aid the people of Poland in every way possible. The PAC continues to be the national voice of Polonia with elected officials on the federal, state and local level. Whenever there is a crisis in Poland or the needs of Polonia must be represented the national Polish American Congress Network is immediately activated. Some of the standing committees of the Polish American Congress are: Political and Civic Affairs Committee; Polish American Affairs Committee; Polish Affairs Committee; Cultural and Education Affairs; Political Action Committee; Anti-Bigotry Committee; Press and Radio Committee; Social Affairs Committee; Polish American Heritage Month Committee and the committees that sponsor patriotic and social events in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Additionally the PAC, Eastern Pennsylvania District maintains constant contact with the National Polish American Congress Office with reference to matters concerning national Polish American Affairs as well as with all programs and activities that help the people of Poland.

Presently the Eastern Pennsylvania District sponsors 25 public activities on behalf of the Polonia of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Some of its annual public events include:

- The Pulaski Dinner Dance, Pulaski Observance Mass and Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Pulaski Monument in Fairmount Park, the Pulaski Observance Coloring Contest and the Pulaski Day Parade, held the first week in October in Philadelphia, PA.

- Polish American Heritage Month activities held throughout the month of October at the Polish American Cultural Center Museum in historic Philadelphia to celebrate the traditions and culture of the Polish people and honor Great Men and Women of Polish heritage.

- The Kosciuszko Day Observance which takes place the first weekend of February at the General Thaddeus Kosciuszko House, 3rd & Pine Streets in Philadelphia, followed by a parade in historic Philadelphia and the Kosciuszko Day luncheon at the First Bank of the United States. The Kosciuszko House was established as a national historical memorial due largely to the efforts of the PAC, Eastern Pennsylvania District. The Kosciuszko House continues to attract tourists from all over the world each year who visit historic Philadelphia and is also widely visited by Polonia.

- The Polish Constitution Day Observance held the first week of May begins with a City of Philadelphia Proclamation Program and on the first Sunday of May the Polish Constitution Day Mass and Youth Day activities are held at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown, PA. The PAC also sponsors the May 3, 1791, Polish Constitution Day Exhibit at the Polish American Cultural Center Museum in historic Philadelphia.

Other events include the Christmas Mikolajki in December, the Swieconka program for children in Polish parish schools during the Easter season, essay contests, visits to schools to talk about Pulaski, Kosciuszko, Chopin and other great men and women of Polish descent, voter registration drives and a host of other activities which unite the Polonia of Southeastern, Pennsylvania.

The Polish American Congress, Eastern Pennsylvania District is a founding member of the Polish American Heritage Month Committee which was organized in Philadelphia in 1981. In 1986, Polish American Heritage Month became a national celebration with the committee working in cooperation with the Polish American Congress and its nationwide member organizations. This national event held in October continues to unite Polonia across America for a meaningful celebration of Polish history and culture. The Heritage Month Committee is headquartered at the Polish American Cultural Center Museum in Philadelphia which is also the headquarters of the Polish American Congress, Eastern Pennsylvania District.

The PAC Eastern Pennsylvania District has always maintained close contact with the national PAC office in matters concerning Polish American affairs and programs and activities that assist the people of Poland.

 


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