Sunday, June 10, 2001 from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Organized by...

Essay contest: 

"Proud to be Polish"


by Ania Liwak

by Ola Grochulska

Proud To Be Polish created May 25, 2001

by Alexandra Grochulski, 16 years old, 

We are proud to be Polish
People of many talents,
People of much history.
We are descendants of many heroes
Such as Kosciuszko and Pilsudski.
We are writers and composers,
We possess it in our kin.
Our influences: Adam Mickiewicz and Chopin
We are proud to be Polish.
Struggling through the strife of our country
We persevere.
We come from many lines of scientists:
Maria Sklodowska and Mikolaj Kopernik
"On wstrzymial slonce, wzruszyl ziemie Polskie go wydalo plemie."
"He stopped the sun, moved the earth polish nation gave him birth."
We are saints, ok maybe not all of us
But in our hearts we know what's right
Just like the Sw. Maximillian and the Pope,
Creating everything good in their sight.
We are proud to be Polish.
We are proud of our heroes, writers, composers
Scientists, and saints.
Of our churches, Kosciol Mariacki,
Matka Boska Czestochowska z Jasnej Gory,
And Wieliczka..
Now its our turn to be proud of ourselves
And our accomplishments.
We should be proud to show others
We are polish.
People of integrity and dignity.
People of history.
We are Polish.


was organized under auspices of the Consulate of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles

by the

Polish American Congress and Charities of Southern California,

Our Lady of Bright Mount Polish Parish and Polish Alma Mater in Los Angeles,

Pope John Paul II Polish Center and the Helena Modrzejewska Polish School in Yorba Linda,

St. Maximilian Kolbe Polish Mission and District XVI of Polish National Alliance


with participation and support of other Polonian organizations:


POLAM Federal Credit Union,

Polish American Cultural Network,

Polish Music Reference Center at USC,

Helena Modjeska Art Club,

News of Polonia, Echo Polonii,

Polish Veterans: AK & SPK,

Polish Scouting Organization ZHP,

Polska Fala Radiowa - Polish Radio,

PEKAO Trading Corporation,

Polish Airlines LOT,

PNA Groups and Councils:

700 Czytelnia Polska, 3259 Piast, 3193 Orange County Centennial,

Polish Folk Dancers: Krakusy, Podhale, Polonez, Polanki

as well as Polish Americans in California



Presentation of Polish Culture & History: 

Exhibits of Polish Arts & Crafts and History, Show of folk crafts, Exhibit of Polonian Artists, Contest for Festival logo, presentation of Polonian local organizations, lecture about famous Poles: Paderewski, Wyszynski, Modrzejewska, Reymont; presentation of Polish folk costumes.


1:00 PM - 2:00 PM    BLOCK FOR THE YOUTH

Written essay contest "Proud to be Polish" (1 page printed or 2 pages handwritten), coloring contest for youngsters, reciting contest of Polish poetry in 3 ages groups (to 10, 11-15 & 16-18), ping-pong contest,



Young and mature will present their talents in performing arts: reciting, singing and playing (Grupa Krak, Polish Music Reference Center at USC), Polish folk shows,


5:00 PM - 6:00 PM   BLOCK FOR ADULTS

Contests: for non-Poles (including non-Polish spouses): "What Polishness means to me?" and contest for Polish newcomers prepared by Polish Americans; Heroes are among us - to be recognized,


All the day: sales of books & gifts, delicious Polish food and beer, plenty of entertainment and fun for everyone.


Proud to be Polish 

by Ania Liwak

           My name doesnít look typical Polish like for example Kowalski or Dutkowski. I was born here in Fullerton, California and not in for example Czestochowa or Szczebrzeszyn . I donít have a heavy accent like my parents, but when I here the word, Poland, something ignites inside of me. Iíve visited Poland only 3 times and every time Iíve gone there, Iíve never felt like a stranger. Iíve always felt welcome and greatly appreciated. By travelling throughout Poland to various cities, I learn about the heroes of Polandís history and discover the traditions past on from generation to generation. I keep in my memory heroes like Sobieski, Pulaski, Kosciuszko and Pilsudski. I also remember those who fought for Polandís freedom and continue to build the country to its finest. I recall all the beautiful cities like Warszawa, Krakow, Czestochowa and Zakopane and itís hard for me to imagine how often these places were destroyed then rebuilt. I respect all the people who fought and repeatedly rebuilt this country with unsurpassed determination.


It isnít very difficult to be proud over there in Poland, but from here, Poland is one of many small countries on the other side of the globe. Poland is in my heart and soul. I am always excited when I have the chance to share with my classmates the knowledge about Copernicus, Chopin, Madame Curie and Pope John Paul II. Sharing the same heritage with these famous people is the easy part of being proud. Fighting for honor and good name of Poland is more demanding because it requires courage to present the truth. Frequently being proud means to stand up and argue against stereotypes, cliches and misinformation. We should be very proud of our ancestors, our heroic history, our global achievements, our unique literature, beautiful music and customs. We should always present our love for freedom, humanity, and good spirit. The most important is to feel proud about our everyday activities, our own achievements, the small and big ones and making this a link to Polandís heroic past.


          I feel proud being Polish just like Sienkiewicz, Modrzejewska or Milosz, but I feel even more proud of being Polish standing among the top 14 people at my high school with the highest PSAT scores. Proud to be Polish is a privilege we can maintain by remembering our past and creating our future.

Gateway to Independence from the Communist Regime
by Alexandra Grochulski


I am Polish. Both my parents have come from Poland and have taught me to speak, read and write in Polish. They sent me to Polish School, where I was taught all about the Polish culture, history, and geography. Growing up with this kind of influence has made me proud of my Polish heritage and that it is my responsibility to know what goes on in that country. I may not have been born there but I certainly have my whole ancestral background from there. I already know a lot about Poland's history but one topic that I have not had the chance to investigate is the Polish Solidarity Movement. Was it inevitable?  Or, could it have been prevented? How did the conditions of the workers contribute to the unrest? I know that a couple of decades ago, Poland was under the communist regime when the Solidarity took place, but that now it is a democratic country. Because of the communism certain things were illegal or censored. When this was brought to my attention, I immediately began to wonder under what circumstances were the Polish able to develop Solidarity? Going to Polish School and Polish Church, I often heard stories about Lech Walesa whom to my knowledge led the Polish Solidarity Movement. I wondered how such a man could have had so much influence and who else helped him through the Movement. The Polish Solidarity did, indeed give the polish workers hope. But, how? What did these workers accomplish? In order to answer these questions I decided to interview some people, including my parents, on their knowledge of the Solidarity. In my room I also have many polish history books and encyclopedias. For my other information, I visited the polish web site on the Internet.
The Polish Solidarity Movement was one of the most significant events to take place in the last 20 years. It marked a new beginning and new hope for the business and working class of Poland. During the Communist Regime most land and business was seized by the government to be controlled. Every business owner and land owner was outraged. Every working member of society felt unfairly treated since many were ambitious and wanted to earn higher wages.
The Solidarity Movement was created as a union in order to organize strikes and peaceful protests. The leader of the Movement was Lech Walesa, an electrician who was tired of the Communist Regime. When the union was pretty strong, Lech Walesa was imprisoned and the Movement was suspended, because it threatened Communist power. Supporters went underground and planned other ways to oppose. A year after his arrest, Lech Walesa was freed and immediately began to ask for social and economic reforms. The Catholic Church, guided by the Polish Pope also strongly supported the Movement. The Polish Solidarity Movement gave hope to thousands of workers by exercising their right to free speech. It gave them power and a sense of national pride. 
The Movement unified the Polish people more closely together and gave them a sense of responsibility to take action in the government. When World War II ended in 1945, the Soviet armies took over Poland. The country from that point on was ruled by the Communist Government. In1948 Russian Communists gained more power. They got a Russian, Konstantin Rokossovsky to be Poland's Minister of defense. Wladystaw Gomulka, leader of Polish Communist Party, was dissatisfied and became "unfriendly" to Russia.(Carol Greene pg. 51) Russia in return imprisoned him. In1952 Poland agreed to a constitution that was like Russia's. People no longer could own business. The businesses were owned by the state. Farmers had to give up their lands and work on state farms. Stefan Cardinal Wyszynski (head of Roman Catholic Church) was imprisoned. (Carol Greene pg. 52) In the 1960's and 70's many Polish people wanted a better life, economy, government and freedom. Many people lived in fear of being reported to the police or arrested and killed for no reason. The Communist government controlled most of the land and businesses.  When Poland was borrowing money from foreign countries to begin building up thier industry, disaster struck. A world financial crisis came and Poland didn't have enough money to pay back the loans, much less improve living conditions. In the early 1980's many polish people had to spend hours to days standing in line just to get enough food for their families so that they could survive. Normal workers were only allowed approx. 2-3 kilograms of meat for a whole month. Physical workers were able to have about 4-5 kilograms of meat a month. (interviewed Zofia and Andrew Grochulski) General Wojciech Jaruzelski became premier of Poland in 1981. He suspended the  trade union and imposed martial law. Lech Walesa and other leaders  were arrested. Supporters who were free went underground to find other ways to protest. After a year, Walesa was freed and along with
workers demanded political, social and economic reforms as well as free labor unions. These strikes led to a consolidated trade movement, called Solidarity. Karol Cardinal Wojtyla became Pope in 1978 and supported the Movement. As a religious leader, he was a national hero, and a living symbol that Polish people were once again a nation with much to offer to the rest of the world. (Carol Greene pg. 53) In1988, Walesa formed a Citizens Committee to negotiate with the Communists. The Polish wanted the right to free speech, legalization of Solidarity and free election. The fall of the Polish Communists had a tremendous effect. Soon, afterwards Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany also tossed their dictatorial Communist Rulers. ( by Martin Hintz pg. 56) The Solidarity Movement was indeed a very significant event not only for Poland but other countries too. Representing hope for thousands, the Movement
helped the people persevere even in the hardest of times. Times when it was a privilege to get Ĺ pound of meat once a week for a family of four. Lech Walesa, a brilliant man had much influence, yet surprisingly only had the minimal education. Later he even became president! Studying and researching this topic has made me even more aware of the personalities of Polish people. They are very determined and ambitious. I admire how people such as my parents had to struggle under the communist regime and fight for their rights. The Solidarity Movement would have been inevitable not only because of the downfalls of communism and the conditions of the workers but because the Polish wanted to prove themselves strong once again.