PAC-MI President responds to Detroit News bias reporting

It is obvious that Monday’s Detroit News online article reporting on the Independence March in Poland, which took place on 11-11-17 reflected, in orientation and emphasis, political preferences and not reality on the ground.  The Independence March’s main theme “We want God”, proclaimed by the first huge banner at the head of the march, was difficult to miss.  A huge crowd of 60,000 people gathered to manifest their patriotism, love of the country, and growing pride in being Polish.  There were some banners out of place and there was a swift reaction of governmental officials, predictably unreported by the media.  Three hours later Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture of Poland, Professor Piotr Glinski, and on Monday, President of Poland Andrzej Duda, as well as the Chairman of the ruling party PIS, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, stated clearly that several out of context signs noted by the leftist media are considered by the authorities as a provocation against Poland.


We are still waiting patiently for the day when reporting about events in Poland becomes accurate and balanced and free of self-serving political prejudices.


Ann Bankowski,


Polish American Congress

Michigan Division

Polish American organizations reacts to racist remarks on Saturday Night Live

Polish American organizations joined in on the protests demanding apology from the producers of the popular comedy show Saturday Night Live, which in the episode aired on November 4, included a racist remarks about Polish Americans, as well as allowed its host for this SNL episode, comedian Larry David, to make distasteful jokes about picking up women at Nazi concentration camps.

Dr. Thaddeus Radzilowski, the President of the Piast Institute issued a demand to NBC and Saturday Night Live to retract the insulting, racist remarks and to offer an apology to the Polish American community for it.

SNL’s skit mocking Sarah Huckabee Sanders contained gratuitous remarks about someone being as a “Polack as dumb a box of rocks.”

“This ugly insult, uttered without context, was obviously a search for cheap laughs when creativity fails,” writes Dr. Radzilowski.  “It sought to pander to one of America’s remaining respectable bigotries.  It goes without saying that a similar remark about women, African Americans, Hispanics, gays or other group would have raised howls of public outrage.  That it did not raise outrage, shows how far we as a society that purports to acute sensitivity about bigotry and racism, still have to go.

“It is customary in such replies to recount the role of Polish Americans in building America, serving with honors in its wars and contributing to the commonwealth. That record speaks for itself and we do not have to justify our right to be equal citizens of the United States.  The issue is larger: every person, every group in our nation-indeed in our world-deserves to be treated with dignity and not held up to public mockery, insult and debasement.

“The Polish community deserves to receive a public apology from NBC and SNL for this utterly ignorant characterization.  The American public needs to recognize that racist remarks such as these are an affront to our national ideals and a rupture of public civility no matter about whom they are made.

The National President of the Polish American Congress, Frank Spula, in his letter to Chief Executive Officer of NBC Studio, writes that “since the airing, our office has been inundated with countless calls and e-mails expressing outrage and concern over this remark.

“Ethnic and racial jokes are necessarily scathing and do great damage, both by perpetuating ugly stereotypes and by demeaning a large number of citizens on the basis of their background and other innate characteristics.  These types of remarks are offensive for all communities, not just ours.

“I am hopeful that the writers, executives or hosts who permitted such defamatory, anti-Polish comments to be aired did not do so with malice, as a finding of deliberate ethnic slander over public airwaves could result in a Federal Communications Commission investigation and fine.

“I, as well, as the Polish American Congress, expect that NBC will issue a written public apology for this insulting incident which can be reprinted in the various Polish American media, as well as a commitment to educate and council writers and production staff about preventing racial and cultural stereotypes that mock an entire community representing a large portion of the American populations.”

Ann Bankowski, the President of the Polish American Congress Michigan Division, in a letter to the Saturday Night Live producer, Lorne Michael and to the NBC Programming Managements writes:

“It is with great distress I write this letter on behalf of the members of the Polish American Congress- Michigan, first in response to the extremely distasteful and insensitive opening monologue of Mr. Larry David, on the topic of picking up women in concentration camps.

“Too many of our members, as well as countrymen in Poland, and those who now reside here, experienced and survived, or tragically lost, family and friends under the brutal regime and constant terror of Hitler’s occupation of Poland throughout the years of WWII. Poland lost 20% of its population during that dreadful time and many Polish citizens, Jewish and Gentile, died and suffered in concentration camps. No laughing matter, even for comic relief, to be treated so inappropriately and insensitively. Shame on Mr. David and big disappointment in SNL.

“But that’s not all. We were later subjected to the parody of Ms. Sara Huckabee Sanders in a vulgar and excessively demeaning spoof, in which, to top it all off, she dismisses someone to be a ‘a Polack, who is dumb as a box of rocks.’  We thought such demeaning stereotypes were long gone, but somehow, for lack of better wit and talent, I suppose, such cheap shots are thrown in. Very disappointing and inexcusable!

“We sincerely appeal to your better judgement in regards to such programming and look forward to viewing true comedic genius once again from SNL.”




PAC official partner of the United States World War One Centennial Commission

The Polish American Congress is among official partners of the United States World War One Centennial Commission.  The Commission was created by an Act of Congress in 2013.  This Act was passed in order to honor and recognize the centennial of America’s involvement with World War I.

The Commission is in charge of planning, developing, and executing programs, projects, and activities to commemorate the centennial of World War I.  The Commission also develops educational programs for a variety of audiences, organizes events to commemorate America’s involvement in the War, and will establish a National World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C.  Members of the Commission were appointed by the President and the leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

The Commission formally recognizes Commemorative Partners who demonstrate a commitment to honoring, commemorating, and educating the public about The Great War.  Polish American Congress is proud to be recognized as one of the Commemorative Partners of the United States World War One Centennial Commission.

Over 300,000 Polish Americans served in the armed forces of the United States during World War I, with an additional 24,000 volunteering to the Polish Army in France.  Fighting valiantly throughout the battlefields of Europe alongside our allies, Americans brought with them the Blessings of Liberty and Poland re-emerged as a free nation!





PAC –Michigan at the Sterling Heights Diversity Dinner

Officers of Polish American Congress Michigan Division were present at this year’s edition of the Sterling Heights Diversity Dinner, Thursday, September 21, organized by the city’s Ethnic Community Committee.  The event included presentation of the Diversity Distinction Awards.  The goal of the event is to increase appreciation of different cultures and to honor those who have championed diversity in Sterling Heights.  Polish American Congress Michigan Division Executive Vice President, Barbara Lemecha, and the Grand Marshal of this year’s Polish Day Parade, Mr. Ray Okonski represented PAC Michigan.  They had a chance to converse with the Sterling Heights Mayor, Michael C. Taylor and gain new appreciation for the many cultures represented at the dinner.



On Sunday, October 29, 2017, at 2:00 pm, at the American Polish Cultural Center in Troy (2975 E. Maple Road, Troy, MI 48083) there will be a Polish Bilingual Day Event.  Doors open at 1:30 pm, programs begin at 2:00 pm.  The event is addressed to all children of Polish descent and their families.  The program will include:

  • A theatrical performance for children and adults by the group “Little Stars” from Chicago;
  • A lecture for parents on the benefits of bilingualism by Dr. Katarzyna Zechenter of University College London. Zechenter is the author of the book “A Guide for Parents of Bilingual Children”;
  • Presentation about Marie Sklodowska-Curie with chemical participant workshops for children aged 6-12;
  • Costume party and Disco with DJ for everyone. We ask children to dress up in costumes from Polish fairy tales and poems.  The most interesting and original costumes will be awarded;
  • Karaoke in Polish giving a chance to join in the singing of Polish songs.

Polish Bilingual Day is open to the public.  You will be able to buy Polish meal at the “Wawel” Restaurant.  The restaurant will be open from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.



Resolutions Accepted at PAC-MI Annual Meeting on March 18, 2017

  1. Whereas, We call on all Poles worldwide to celebrate The Year of Kosciuszko as designated for 2017 by the Polish government, UNESCO, and other organizations, bringing specific attention to the life, accomplishments, and virtues of this Polish and American hero;
  2. Whereas, We laud the Polish Catholic Church’s successful celebration of 1050 years of Poland’s Christianity last year; success in carrying out a most inspiring World Youth Day; and this year, join all faithful Poles as we celebrate 300 years of the coronation of the miraculous painting of Our Lady of Czestochowa at Her shrine at Jasna Gora, requesting Her intercession for the good of the faithful worldwide;
  3. Whereas, We congratulate the new president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, wishing him and the new administration success in leading and serving our country and citizens, we anticipate that his governance will serve the Polish American community well, and that he remain mindful of Poland’s security as an independent nation and support her good standing in the free world;
  4. Whereas, This year marks the 100th anniversary of CzynZbrojny, the heroic and extraordinary formation of Haller’s army, where almost 25,000 Polish Americans volunteered and went to fight for Poland’s independence during WWI, we salute this huge military effort, the patriotism exhibited by these men and women, as well as the ultimate sacrifice discharged by many;
  5. Whereas, Locally we recognize significant anniversaries of 2016 and 2017 celebrated by our division’s member organizations as well as those institutions and businesses serving the larger Polonia community: 125 years of Polish Falcons of America, Nest 31; 100 years of Queen of Apostles parish in Hamtramck; 100 years of Polish Century Club of Detroit; 80 years of Friends of Polish Art of Michigan; 50 years of KlubPolonia in Wyandotte,  25 years of American Polish Cultural Society in Troy; 20 years of Fr. Joseph Dabrowski Polish Language School at Orchard Lake School,10 years of St. John Paul Polish Language School at St. Florian parish in Hamtramck; the establishment and dedication of the Shrine of St. John Paul II at Orchard Lake; and Stan’s Grocery and Deli for years of service, we wish them all continued success in serving the community;
  6. Whereas, We renew our appeal to Polish-Americans, to be informed and actively involved in social and political issues of the United States and in efforts promoting Polonian/Polish interests, e.g. the proposed Visa Waiver Program;
  7. Whereas, we reaffirm the Polish American Congress national policy accepted in 1991, to stand neutral on issues relating to Poland’s internal politics, as a division we reserve the right to adopt positions, as approved by our membership, on political, social and cultural issues which effect, directly and indirectly, interests of Polonia, Poles, and Poland;
  8. Whereas, We renew our appeal to members of Polonian organizations, as well as to anyone who is not yet part of organized Polonia, to actively support the work of the Polish American Congress, locally and nationally, and to join and become actively involved in work that can benefit us all and our community;
  9. Whereas, We renew our appeal to parents to raise their children in a patriotic spirit through participation in Polish language programs and membership in youth organizations that foster and nurture our Polish values and instill an appreciation of our rich heritage and thus increase our children’s effectiveness to compete in American society;
  10. Whereas, We continue to support efforts to promote books, films, and materials, which foster the good name and true history of Poland and our heritage;
  11. Whereas, We again send best wishes to our local Polish media, for continued success in their efforts to keep Polonia informed and best serve our community: The Polish Weekly; Polish Varieties Radio Program; and Telewizja Detroit and appeal to Polonia to actively support these media and their sponsors.
  12. Whereas, We renew our appeal to all who are of Polish descent, and to those who are supportive of our heritage, to stand united and in solidarity in promoting and protecting the good name and rich heritage of Poland and the Polish-American community, thus enriching American life;
  13. Whereas, At this time of change in the Orchard Lake Schools, we thank Msgr. Thomas Michalski for his service as Chancellor and Recto,ralong with his leadership, and pray that the Schools find a leader able to achieve growth and a prosperous future in the tradition of its founder Fr. Joseph Dabrowski, for this great Polonian institution.

We therefore, as the Michigan division of the Polish American Congress, resolve to accept said resolutions, this 18th day of March 2017, as agreed upon unanimously by the membership at its annual meeting of this day.

PAC-MI 2017 Resolution Committee: Ann Bańkowski; Władysław Bankowski; Dana Bielecki; Anna Huk-Glaeser

Polish Day Parade 2017


We invite you to join us for the Polish Day Parade, Monday, September 4 (Labor Day) in downtown Hamtramck.  The parade begins at 1:30 pm.  Marchers gather at the corner of Holbrook and Joseph Campau and proceed north on Joseph Campau to Commor.  It is considered one of the largest ethnic parades in the state of Michigan with many individuals and groups participating, including political figures.

The parade is organized Polish Day Parade Committee of the Polish American Congress Michigan Division.

A long, rich history is associated with the founding of the Polish Day Parade.  In the 1930s, the roots of the present day Polish Day Parade took hold with the May 3 Polish Constitution Day observances held on Detroit’s Belle Isle.  The Polish Day Parade evolved into the Pulaski Day Parade and was held in the fall of each year in downtown Detroit.

In 1977, Paul C. Odrobina as President of the Polish American Congress, Michigan Division ad as city council member saw the need for the Polish Day Parade to continue in Hamtramck.  Odrobina said, “I was happy to continue the tradition in the city of Hamtramck by having the parade committee agree to stage the parade on Joseph Campau Avenue during the city’s annual festival.”

He continued, “The Polish Day Parade is an annual tradition that celebrates Polish American life.  The parade brings out all that is good about one’s Polish heritage.  We all should be proud of who we are and what we contribute to America.”

This year the Parade will celebrate two extraordinary Poles who risked their lives under the banner of freedom, both in Poland and America, Thaddeus Kosciuszko and Kazimierz Pulaski.  A special float celebrating these figures is being prepared by the Parade Committee.

The Grand Marshal of this year’s Parade is Mr. Ray Okonski (pictured), a well-known and respected philanthropist, active supporter of Polonia for many years, especially in the area of scholarship programs.

Come and celebrate your Polish Heritage by participating in the 2017 Polish Day Parade!


Pierogi Palooza 2017

Once again this year Polish American Congress of Michigan held its fund raiser to help bring in needed money for the Michigan division of the PAC. Maintaining its own building in Hamtramck (since 1978) with a part time staff, providing various services to Polish immigrants, promoting our cultural heritage, protecting our group’s good name, acting as an umbrella organization for organized Polonia and serving as its voice, requires ongoing commitment by volunteers and financial support. Fund raisers and donations are the key in providing a basis for continuing the division’s mission, especially in light of the fact that 80% of PAC membership dues go to the national PAC office.   This year this event was called Pierogi Palooza II and once more itwas held at the Polish National Alliance Council 122 Banquet Hall in Hamtramck, taking place on Friday, June 2.

What was different about this year’s event was that, though there were not the long lines  with guests waiting as there were at last year’s event, participants were treated to a more varied menu of 15 varieties of pierogi from area vendors: Polish Village Café, ŚrodekCampau Quality Sausage, Bożek Meat Market, and Old World Gluten-Free (which also features vegan pierogi), and, once again, kielbasa on a bun (with or without kapusta), tasty desserts of torte or pączki(Sweet Dreams Bakery and Bartz Bakery), and of course various beverages from the bar, including Polish beers.

The crowd was entertained all evening by the Kielbasa Kings Polka Band, providing listening and dancing pleasure for young and old.Earlier, Mr. StasiuŚmigielski entertained everyoneon his accordion with beloved Polish musical selections. Two young adult area Polish folk dance groups provided added fun with suites of regional Polish folk dances – the Wawel Polish Folk Dance Ensemble and the Polanie Polish Folk Dance Ensemble.  The Polaniedancers, who are participating again this summer in the World Polish Folk Dance Festival in Rzeszow, Poland, also featured a lively and entertaining “Charleston”, which they will perform in Poland this year, representing an “American dance”.  This yearthePierogi Palooza guests came and stayed much of the evening, enjoying an authentic Polish American experience, even though food take-out was also available.Once again this year they were able to browse and purchase unique Polish souvenirs from the Polish Pride of Michigan kiosk or view interesting facts about PAC-MI, Poland, and Poloniafeatured in the Polish American Congress exhibit.Share the wealth raffle drawings and 15 attractive gift basket raffle drawings allowed a good number of guests to leave even more “enriched”.

Of course, as with any event, there were the financial sponsors, item donors, and volunteers who contributed materially as well with their time and talents.Appreciation goes out to the vendors: Carolyn Wietrzykowski; RadosławŚrodek; MichałBożek; AliciaBemiss; Sam Dahr; andthe proprietors ofBartz Bakery,who helped to provide us with delicious Polish style food. We would like to recognize and sincerely thank the others for their contributions here as well.



Ray Okonski*

Barbara Gronet*

PNA Council 122

Polish Pride of Michigan

PAC-MI Senior Club

Polish Century Club of Detroit

Bożek Meat Market

Tadeusz and Eugenia Górecki

*Significant donations



Our Lady Queen of Apostles Parish

Wawel Royal Castle Restaurant

Polish Art Center

Polish Varieties Radio

Lawrence Chominski (Polonaise Chorale)

Stella Szczesny and Tom Schemanski

Michael and Christine Wilk


John Dąbrowski

Janina Furman

Rik Lapham

Donna Bielecki

Barbara Lemecha

Ann Bańkowski
Pierogi Palooza II Committee:Ann Bańkowski, Barbara Lemecha, Stella Szczesny, Barbara Gronet, Donna Bielecki, Jacqueline Kołowski, Helena Żmurkiewicz, Sebastian Szczepański


A big “Dziękuje” goes out to thesePP event volunteers:

Marcia Lewandowski

Henrietta Nowakowski

Krystyna Kuczara

Thomas Schemanski

Janina Stanton

Irena Bańkowska

Władysław Bańkowski

Tomasz Wolski

Stanisława Rogal

Wanda Jagłowska

Mary Ellen Tyszka

Richard Konrad

Marianna Konrad

Chester Szczotka

Nancy Szczotka

Carol Bennett

Brian Malski

Alicja Foryś

Zdzisław Foryś

Anna Huk-Glaeser

Ms. Klaudia- visitor from Poland


Lee Merritt

Jasia Żmurkiewicz

Ola Konopka

Iza Szczepańska

Krzysztof Adamczyk

Grażyna Adamczyk

Pat Bargowski

Norbert Golembiewski

Stefan Łopacki

Stanislaw Łopacki

Andrew Pietrzak

James Kaczor

Alicja Kaczor

Danielle Miller with friend „Mo”



Of course we thank all who came to Pierogi Palooza II, showed their support of Polish American

Congress of Michigan and we hope had an enjoyable Polish American experience. See you next year!



Pierogi Palooza II. June 2, 2017. Thank you to all participants, sponsors and volunteers!!!

Posted by Polish American Congress Michigan Division on Saturday, June 3, 2017



St. Anne De Detroit Church, located near Ambassador’s Bridge in Detroit, dates back to Cadillac’s settling of Detroit in 1701, and it’s considered the second-oldest continuously operating Roman Catholic parish in the U.S.  The current Neo-Gothic structure, the parish’s 8th church building, dates to 1886 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

What was once Detroit’s signature French-language parish – the old school building has the name “Ecole Ste. Anne” carved into it – now has a growing, vibrant, primarily Hispanic congregation.

But once a year, for 10 days, the church becomes a site for Ethnic Novena, catered to the diverse community of Metro Detroit.

On Thursday, July 20, a Polish Novena will be held, with Fr. Ostrowski as Presider, and featuring award-winning Filarets Choir.  Knights of Columbus, Polish dance groups will also be featured.

This year the Novena will introduce a special new tradition: carrying of flags – the flag of the nation represented, the Detroit flag, the American flag, and the Vatican flag.

Refreshments will be served after the Novena at the Parish Hall.

St. Anne De Detroit Church: 1000 St Anne St, Detroit, MI 48216.  Visit for more information.


JULY 18 – Ste. Anne Novena – Night 1 (Irish)

JULY 19 – Ste. Anne Novena – Night 2 (Asian)

JULY 20 – Ste. Anne Novena – Night 3 (Polish)

JULY 21 – Ste. Anne Novena – Night 4 (Albanian)

JULY 22 – Ste. Anne Novena – Night 5 (Mexican)

JULY 23 – Ste. Anne Novena – Night 6 (French)

JULY 24 – Ste. Anne Novena – Night 7 (Chaldean)

JULY 25 – Ste. Anne Novena – Night 8 (African-American)

JUL 26 – Ste. Anne Novena – Night 9


(seb / photo: St. Anne de Detroit Facebook Page)

PACMI to Present Scholarship Recipients

On Wednesday, August 9, 2017, the Polish American Congress of Michigan (PACMI) Scholarship Fund will host its annual Fund Raiser / Dinner, during which 2017 PACMI Scholarship Recipients will be presented.  The event will take place at Krakus Restaurant in Detroit (12900 Joseph Campau).  Doors open at 5:30 pm; dinner served at 6:00 pm.  Suggested contributions: $30.00 per person (contributions in excess of $20.00 are tax deductible).  For a contribution of $250.00 or more towards the Scholarship Fund, each donor will receive a document of their contribution.

Reservations can be made by August 2, by calling 313-365-9400 or 586-751-8168.

This year, the Polish American Congress of Michigan Scholarship Fund selected nine students which will be presented with scholarships.  They are: Danielle Miller (Oakland Univeristy; major: Health Science), Ewa Sztandera (University of Detroit Mercy; major: Nursing), Hanna Gove (Grand Valley State; major: Occupational Therapy), Agnieszka Miklasewicz (Western Michigan University; major: Law), Pamela Jablonski (University of Michigan; major: Business Admnistration), Natalia Jablonski (University of Michigan; major: Nursing), Karina Cieslak (Wayne State University; major: Bio-Chemistry), Evelina Kutyma (Unviersity of Michigan; major: Public Health).