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Celebrate Polish Heritage Month

Polish American Heritage Month

October 14, 2022

In October, we celebrate Polish American Heritage Month. During American history and culture, Polish people had played an important role since 1608, when the first Polish settlers arrived at Jamestown, VA. The movement began in Philadelphia, PA, and became a national celebration of Polish history, culture, and pride. A 243rd anniversary will be marked in honor of General Casimir Pulaski, Father of the American Cavalry and American Revolutionary War Hero Thaddeus Kosciuszko. 

The concept of designating a special month to celebrate Polish heritage began in Pennsylvania in 1981 at the suggestion of Michael Blichasz, a Polish American activist in Philadelphia. At that time, August was designated Polish American Heritage Month, which was celebrated solely within the state of Pennsylvania. However, in 1986, Blichasz, president of the Eastern Pennsylvania District of the Polish American Congress (PAC) and the Polish American Cultural Center in Philadelphia, proposed that Heritage Month be celebrated nationwide at a national PAC meeting. His proposal was adopted, and the month was changed to October, coinciding with the death of General Casimir Pulaski. 

Today, according to Polishamericancenter.org, Poles make up the sixth largest ethnic group in America, living in all fifty states and participating in every aspect of American life. As we mark the anniversary of the first Poles in America, we are reminded of the journey of our ancestors who contributed to the American mosaic. 

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For additional education and personal development related to diversity, equity and inclusion, the following resources are available: DEI Education and Resources, DEI and Antiracism Resources from the UNC Libraries, the Education Equity Toolkit from the Colorado Department of Higher Education, and the UNITE workshops for faculty, staff, and students.