Piast Board of Directors member Levi Smith stopped by the Institute on June 19th to donate both volumes of The Encyclopedia of the Righteous Among the Nations in memory of Dr. Thaddeus C. Radzilowski. The book focuses on the Poles who protected the Jews during the Holocaust despite the great risks. Thank you Levi for your generosity and dedication. These books will make a great addition to our library. If anyone would like to see it for themselves, you are more than welcome to visit the Institute.
HAMTRAMCK, Mich. – The Piast Institute is pleased to announce that on Saturday, June 1 the Institute will be hosting a ceremony at 10 a.m. awarding Seal of Biliteracy diplomas and congratulatory letters from the Michigan Department of Education to Polish students who have achieved very high levels of Polish language proficiency on the standardized Polish biliteracy test. Students who will be honored are high school seniors Gabriela Andrzejewska, Maria Emilia Bieciuk and Elizabeth Wright.
The Piast Institute will also recognize four other students who completed the Polish biliteracy test. These students achieved the high proficiency required for the Seal of Biliteracy, but due to age restrictions the students will not be receiving the Seal at this time.
The Seal of Biliteracy program is a voluntary program to certify students who have high proficiency in both English and another world language. The program is being introduced in many Michigan high schools, but its implementation often requires efforts from parents or from the school board to request that the school allow students to participate.
Until recently, Polish students could not receive the Seal because a standardized test for Polish proficiency did not exist. Now the STAMP4S test developed by Avant Assessment Inc. has been approved as an exam to certify students across the U.S. for the Seal of Biliteracy. Between April 2018 and May 2019, 894 Polish language students in fourteen states have taken the STAMP4S test to receive their biliteracy certification.
Additional information about the Seal of Biliteracy program and the STAMP4S test can be found at SealofBiliteracyPoPolsku.com.
The Piast Institute is a small nonprofit organization which serves Hamtramck, an enclave deep in Detroit’s inner city. We serve a diverse, low income population of over 30 different ethnic and cultural groups, including Poles, Bosnians and other East Europeans, Arabs, Bangladeshi and African Americans with a variety of services including lead abatement, community building and maintenance and most important of all, drug prevention aimed at the youth of our immigrant and ethnic and racial groups. At the heart of our mission is a deep commitment to promoting harmony among our various ethnic and immigrant groups and forging a viable American community. We operate on a shoestring. We have ten employees, of whom only four are regularly paid staff. The others are volunteers and interns.
The Piast Institute paid $29,000 which it painstakingly raised over several years to have a new roof put on its building in 2016. The work was never fully completed, as the contractor died unexpectedly. The roof leaks have rendered the bathroom and some of the work areas unusable and mold is beginning to develop, which threatens the health of staff and clients. If we are to continue our vital work of community building, drug prevention, lead abatement and other services, it is essential that we complete the repairs to the roof and the damage to the interior. We cannot do it without you.
Application for passports must be made in person, which normally requires travelling to Chicago. However, the Consuls’ visit to Hamtramck eliminates the need for applicants to travel there. The date of the next consular visit will be posted soon. The Piast Institute cannot schedule appointments; applicants must call a consular officer at 312-337-8166 extension 229 or 231.
Dyżur konsularny w Hamtramck w stanie Michigan
Konsulat Generalny RP w Chicago organizuje w Hamtramck w stanie Michigan dyżur konsularny. Na dyżur obowiązują wcześniejsze zapisy telefoniczne. Podczas dyżuru będzie możliwość złożenia wniosku o wydanie dokumentu paszportowego. Dyżur odbędzie się w Piast Institute, 11633 Joseph Campau Street, Hamtramck, MI 48212. W celu dokonania zapisu na dyżur, prosimy dzwonić do naszego urzędu pod numer telefonu +1-312-337-8166 wew. 229 lub 231. Informacje na temat warunków niezbędnych do złożenia wniosku o paszport znajdą Państwo na stronie internetowej Konsulatu Generalnego RP w Chicago, link: http://www.chicago.msz.gov.pl/pl/informacje_konsularne/paszport
What does the statue of the Polish general on a horse on Michigan Avenue have to do with Black History Month?
Most people think of Thaddeus Kosciuszko as a Polish revolutionary who made a major contribution to the American victory during the War of Independence. He was that indeed. But his legacy to his beloved adopted country is much wider and deeper. Kosciuszko was a pioneer of the struggle against slavery, servitude, and inequality in America and Europe. His dear friend, Thomas Jefferson, said of him: “He is the purest son of liberty I have ever known, and not just for the wealthy and high-born.”
It is fitting to remember his legacy in 2017, which marks the 200th anniversary of his death, and to commemorate it during February—his birth month (February 4), as well as Black History Month. Himself a victim of social discrimination and class inequality, and an outspoken opponent of serfdom in his native land, Kosciuszko was appalled by the vicious slavery he found in the American colonies for whose freedom he fought and bled for seven long years. His convictions were exemplified by his life and actions. His aide for much of the war was a free black man, Agrippa Hull, who became one of his closest friends. After the war, he invited Hull to return with him to Poland. Hull decided to remain in the United States. When Kosciuszko returned more than a dozen years later to America, crippled by wounds and years in Catherine the Great’s prisons, he made an arduous journey of hundreds of miles to visit his friend in Massachusetts.
The friendship of the two men was forged over five years of shared hardship and danger and a common opposition to slavery and racism. Kosciuszko, himself a victim of painful social discrimination, an opponent of serfdom and an avid student of the ideas of the Enlightenment, and Agrippa Hull, a free Black who daily fought assaults on his dignity and rightful claims to equality in his native New England together learned the full evil and degradation of chattel slavery on Southern plantations in their service in General Nathaniel Greene’s Army of the South. The experience helped shape their subsequent lives. Kosciuszko’s commitment to freedom and opposition to the evils of slavery are best illustrated in an incident while he served in Greene’s army. After the death in battle of one of his comrades, he prevented his colleagues from dividing up the personal effects of the deceased officer, and insisted that the rich clothing be given to the two slaves who had followed their master in the campaign. He said, “Their skin deserves to feel fine cloth as well as your own.” He prevailed on General Greene to distribute the clothing to the ill-clad slaves.
“I beg Mr. Jefferson that in case I should die without will or testament he should bye out of my money so many Negroes and free them that the restant sum should be sufficient to give them education and provide for their maintenance. That is to say each should know before, the duty of a cytyzen in the free Government, that he must defend his Country against foreign as well internal Enemies who would wish to change the Constitution for the worst to enslave them by degree afterwards, to have good and human heart sensible for the sufferings of others, each must be married and have 100 acres of land, wyth instruments, Cattle for tillage and know how to manage and gouvern it as well to know how to behave to neybourghs, always with kindness and ready to help them—to them selves frugal, to their children give good education I mean as to the heart and the duty to the Country, in gratitude to me to make themselves happy as possible.”
Kosciuszko also spoke out for Native Americans for the protection of their land. He was visited in Philadelphia by Chief Little Turtle of the Miami Indian tribe, who brought him a combination tomahawk and peace pipe as a sign of appreciation. Kosciuszko gave the chief his eyeglasses, his jacket, a pair of pistols and instructed the Indian leader to use these against “the first man who ever comes to subjugate you!”
The Piast Institute inducted the second set of selectees into the Polish Women’s Hall of Fame on September 1, 2017. Women were selected in all six categories featured in the Hall of Fame. This cycle’s selectees are:
Science and Education: Stephanie Louise Kwolek (1923-2014), inventor of Kevlar. After finishing a Bachelor of Science at the Margaret Morrison Carnegie College of Carnegie Mellon University in 1946, Kwolek accepted a position at DuPont where she became involved in polymer research. She is the only woman to have been awarded DuPont’s Lavoisier Medal for her achievements. She has also been recognized by the National Inventors Hall of Fame, the American Institute of Chemists, the American Chemical Society, the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and the Royal Society of Chemistry in the UK.
Arts and Humanities: Magdalena Abakanowicz (1930-2017), artist. While Abakanowicz began her career as a painter in Poland in the 1950s, she is best known as a sculptor. Her most famous works are headless human forms made from sacking stiffened with glue and resin, which are fitted over steel frames. Her work has been displayed all over the world, and her most famous installation in the United States is Agora, a set of 106 iron figures on display in Grant Park in Chicago.
Religion: Bl. Mary Angela Truszkowska (1825-1898), founder of the Felician Sisters. Interested since childhood in serving people in need, Truszkowska became a member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul as a young woman, where she worked among the poor and aided with the religious education of abandoned children. In 1855 she dedicated herself and founded the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice—the Felician Sisters. The order grew, both under her direction and after her retirement, sending its first five Sisters to America in 1874. She was beatified in 1993.
Public Life and Service: Antonina Żabińska (1908-1971), subject of The Zookeeper’s Wife, who helped shelter many Jews in the Warsaw Zoo during the Nazi occupation of Poland by offering food and temporary quarters. Żabińska continued her humanitarian work by aiding survivors who remained in Warsaw’s ruins after the Warsaw Uprising, despite the deportation of her husband as a prisoner of war. She was also the author of several children’s books written from the perspective of animals. She, along with her husband, has been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.
Sports: Jenny Romatowski (1927-2014). Romatowski played on several teams of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. In addition to her four years—and 1954 championship—with the Kalamazoo Lassies, she also played with the South Bend Blue Sox, the Rockford Peaches, the Chicago Colleens, the Racine Belles, and the Peoria Redwings. She was a member of the All-Star Teams of 1952 and 1953. She was also a member of the U.S. national team of the 1959 World Field Hockey Tournament, and vice president of the U.S. Field Hockey Association. She has been honored by the National Polish American Sports Hall of Fame, the Eastern Michigan University Hall of Fame, and the Michigan Amateur Sports Hall of Fame.
Philanthropy: Valeria Lipczynska (1846-1930), a cornerstone of the Polish community in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Lipczynska and her husband arrived in Grand Rapids in 1869, and helped at least forty other Polish families settle in the area. She was instrumental in the organization and establishment of a variety of Polish American organizations in the Grand Rapids area, helped recent immigrants establish themselves and find employment, supported the arts, and served as a correspondent for Polish newspapers in the Midwest. She was the first woman to serve on the board of directors of the Polish National Alliance. She received the Polish Golden Service Cross for her work with recent immigrants in 1927.
The first selectees were inducted in March 2017, when the project was officially launched. The Polish Women’s Hall of Fame is a virtual exhibit hosted at www.FamousPolishWomen.com. The project seeks to raise awareness of women’s contributions to the culture and history of Poland and the world by offering biographical profiles of notable women and historical information, as well as to honor the impact that less famous women have had on countless individual lives through the A Woman to Remember page.
The Polish Women’s Hall of Fame has two selection cycles each year, with new selectees announced in March and September. Nominations are accepted from the public through January 1 for the March selection cycle and through July 1 for the September selection cycle. Members of the public are encouraged to submit nominations using the forms available, in English and in Polish, on the project website. Completed forms may be submitted online, by email, or by mail.
The A Woman to Remember page accepts nominations on a rolling basis, and is intended to honor the contributions of women—mothers, sisters, friends, teachers, and so many more—to the life of the nominator. These stories are not subject to review by the Selection Committee, and are not formally inducted into the Hall of Fame—instead, stories are posted when they are received and are intended to reflect a range of personal accomplishments and experiences.
For more information on the project, please visit the website or contact the Piast Institute at: firstname.lastname@example.org