Text included below from Mark Kohan at the Polish American Journal
Congratulations to Piast Institute!
Each year, the members and board of the Polish American Journal Foundation select a Polonia non-profit organization for a $500.00 donation. Past winners of this prize include The Polish Singers Alliance of America, the Polish Museum of America, the Polish American Historical Association, The Polish Center of Discovery and Learning at Elms College, and others.
This year, members selected the Piast Institute, headquartered in Hamtramck, Mich.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Piast is a national research center devoted to Polish and Polish American affairs. It is also one of forty-eight United States Census Bureau Information Centers (CIC) and one of two located in Michigan.
Piast develops conferences, seminars, data publications, public programs, lectures, and exhibits that provide accurate information about Poland, Poles, and Polish Americans. It also has a special interest in the role of ethnicity in American Life.
With its resources and its position as a Census Information Center, Piast acts as a data resource center helping Polish, Polish American, and other business and community groups develop policy papers and historical, cultural, political, economic, social, and demographic studies on a wide variety of topics. It works to implement environmental and policy changes within its community.
Piast’s mission and programming also aim to celebrate Polish contributions to America as well as world culture, and to address and counter inaccurate or defamatory information about Poland, Poles, or Polish Americans.
It was founded in 2003 by the late Dr. Thaddeus Radzilowski, a celebrated historian, writer and academic, and Ms. Virginia Skrzyniarz, an accomplished executive serving non-profit organizations in various capacities for over thirty years. Skrzyniarz is now the CEO, being selected by the Piast Board of Directors in 2018 after Dr. Radzilowski’s passing.
Please join us in congratulating the Piast Institute.
Polish ancestry remains at the heart of this two square-mile town. While Polish and Polish American residents are in the minority now, even those who have moved away years ago remember their family history being firmly planted here.
For the Piast Institute in Hamtramck, October is synonymous with being celebrated as Polish American Heritage Month. Founded 20 years ago, the Piast Institute is a national research and policy center for Polish and Polish American Affairs. In addition, it is an official Census Information Center designated by the U.S. Census Bureau. It advocates Polish heritage and culture year-round through organizing events and ongoing programs. This includes Polish language and the Seal of Biliteracy promotion, and assisting to carry on the Dekaban- Liddle Foundation work to support Polish scholars in their studies.
The first celebration of Polish American Heritage Month was organized by Michael Blicharz, the president of the Polish American Cultural Center in Philadelphia in 1981. Three years later the House Joint Resolution 577 passed, making August Polish American Heritage Month. President Ronald Reagan urged all Americans to join in the celebration honoring Polish heritage in the United States.
The month was moved to October in 1986 to enable participating schools in organizing events during the school year. The change also commemorated the first Polish settlers to Jamestown, Virginia – October 1,1608, as well as the deaths of General Kazimierz Pulaski and Tadeusz Kosciuszko, military leaders who fought in the American Revolution.
Several landmarks depict the major influence of Poles in Hamtramck: St. Florian Roman Catholic Church with Masses said in Polish, St. Ladislaus Chapel, the statue of St. John Paul II to the city, and the Kosciuszko Middle School perpetuate the legacy. The Hamtramck Historical Museum pays tribute to Polish heritage and culture with eye-catching exhibits of bygone eras, including a Polish Hamtramck-themed mural, created by muralist Dennis Orlowski, alongside those of other nationalities.
To reflect the change in the city’s demographics over the years, the city’s motto has been transformed. From “Hamtramck, A Touch of Europe in America,” the transition has been made to “Hamtramck, The World in Two Square Miles.” Let’s all celebrate Polish Heritage Month.
Piast Institute CEO Virginia Skrzyniarz accepted an award Saturday September 23, 2023 from Dr. Karla Mitchell at CLASS Agency for Piast Institute's support of CLASS throughout the years.
Piast Institute was awarded at the retreat entitled Emerge, Evolve & Elevate - CLASS Annual Women's Prevention Retreat in Southfield, MI. This retreat is a renewal opportunity and fellowship bridge among women of all backgrounds. It is frequently deemed life changing by the attendees and represents an annual culmination of CLASS Agency's outpour/outflow of care and concern to a segment of the community it serves.
For many years CLASS Agency worked with Piast Institute to support women and create memorable experiences for program participants.
On Sunday, October 22, 2023 Piast Institute will be honored at the Central Citizens Award Banquet. It has been nominated as one of the Organizational Honorees for the Pulaski Medal of Honor. Below is the list of all 2023 Honorees.
Friends of Polish Art
Polish Alliance Dancers
Gen. Pulaski Language Course
Polanie Song and Dance Ensemble
Rev. Bogdan Milosz
Police Chief Anne Moise
Hamtramck, Mich. – Piast Institute will be offering the Polish language as second language classes for adults who want to converse in Polish with those in their circle, or are thinking of taking a trip to Poland in the future. Classes are offered online via ZOOM.
The instructor, Benita Wojciechowski of the Piast Institute, encourages individuals to join the new beginner’s class, which will start up on Tuesday evenings, June 6, 2023, as an intensive Polish vacation course. This class may be, upon the students’ request, extended into the fall.
If a person has some knowledge of Polish and would like to expand on their skills, please contact the instructor for information on the ongoing intermediate and advanced classes. Individuals are allowed to attend two classes the first week, so that the student and the instructor can decide which group fits the person’s skills and needs the best. There is a possibility of taking a few individual classes, prior to joining the group, in order to catch up with the program.
The fee for the class is $25 for a 90-minute session, with a commitment for one session a week for the duration of the school year, paid monthly. A special offer is available to those who want to participate in more than one class per week – the second class fee is $10. All materials are provided with the class fees.
For registration and more information, please contact the instructor, Benita Wojciechowski, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 586-354-8296 or fill out the Google form at https://tinyurl.com/PolishClasses. Mrs. Wojciechowski teaches at the Father Dabrowski Polish Language Center in Orchard Lake. She has 10 years of teaching experience both in Poland and the United States and has taught Polish and English to individuals and groups.
Polish classes for children and the youths from the Detroit Metro area are offered at four Polish schools. The schools in Hamtramck and Orchard Lake offer a special Early Start class for 2- to 4-year-old students.
St. John Paul II Polish Language School in Hamtramck
Adam Mickiewicz School of Polish Language in Sterling Heights
Polish Language Center of Ann Arbor
Father Dabrowski Polish Language Center in Orchard Lake
The website is under construction. To register, please follow the link:
These incredible students created an outstanding public service video in a Michigan statewide contest hosted by Prevention Network, that ultimately won them first prize for a weeklong trip to attend a training conference. This mid-year CADCA or the Community Anti Drug Coalitions of America conference will be from July 16-20, at Grapevine, Texas this year. The students winnings cover the cost of airline travel and lodging but not ground transportation or food. Consider donating to the GoFundMe page: https://gofund.me/2b0e1829 to help cover these essential expenses.
The public service announcement (PSA) video was a challenging contest. Within an hour, the students had to create a video on their cell phones. The local team was vying against competitors from across the state. There were nearly 100 youths who attended the Youth Coalition Leadership Retreat, April 17, as part of the new Michigan Youth Coalition Network (MYCN) program. The Hamtramck All Stars focused their video on vaping prevention, emphasizing that statistics show the majority of peers their age do not vape, and vaping is not worth missing time with their friends.
Per diem costs are $64 per day for food (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and $48 for first and last day of travel for $288 per student.
+ $100 travel to airport, hotel,
x 8 people for a total of $3,104.00
Please consider additional donations to cover processing fees from GoFundMe.
Checks can also be mailed to:
Piast Institute at 11633 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck MI 48212 with Memo: All Stars
Dr. Dominik Stecula, Ph.D., will offer a current in-depth look at Polish Americans on Friday, May 19, 2023, in a free lecture from 6-8 p.m. at the Warren Civic Center Library, 1 City Square (Warren, Michigan). He holds a doctorate in political science from the University of British Columbia and is an associate professor of political science at Colorado State University.
His 2010 book, Polish Americans Today: Modern Polonian Leadership, was written jointly with the late Thaddeus C. Radzilowski, Ph.D., co-founder of the Piast Institute in Hamtramck, founded in 2003.
Building on that initial project, the second edition of the book, Polish Americans Today was published in 2021. Both editions were published by the Piast Institute and were based on surveys. This second edition is the only national survey of Polish Americans and offers the most detailed data-driven look at the Polish American community, according to Stecula. With the lecture, the researcher will paint a comprehensive picture of American Polonia and focus on the attitudes, demographics, identities, and cultural activities of the Polish American community.
This program is part of the 20th anniversary celebration of the Piast Institute. Stecula’s book will be available for purchase at the lecture. To register online for the lecture today, go to: https://rb.gy/lqiinl, walk-ins are also encouraged to attend. Previously, author Imogene Salva delivered a lecture in March, in which she detailed her mother’s World War II experience as one of many Polish children refugees who were given sanctuary in India by a generous benefactor, an Indian maharajah. The lecture was based on her book, One Star Away.
Stecula co-authored the first edition of Polish Americans Today as a research assistant under Radzilowski. His research has been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and other news outlets in the United States and abroad. His articles have appeared in USA Today, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Post and Newsweek, among others. As a Polish immigrant, he also writes about American politics for Polish publications like Polityka, Gazeta Wyborcza and Kultura Liberalna. Stecula served as the research director at the Piast Institute and added that since the fall of 2018, he serves on its board of directors.
Directed by Virginia Skrzyniarz, Piast co-founder and current CEO, the 2020 Polish American Survey formed the basis for the 2021 book. It focuses on demographics, beyond the Census data, according to Stecula. He said, “Our national survey of nearly 81,800 Polish Americans is therefore the best source of information about our community: who we are, what we believe, how connected we are to Poland … all of these questions are answered in the book.”
Since its inception in 2003, the Piast Institute has grown to become a nationally recognized nonprofit research center that focuses on Polish and Polish American Affairs. Named after the first dynasty of Poland, the Piast Institute began its 20-year journey in Detroit, Michigan.
In 2005, the Institute moved to Hamtramck, where Polish immigrants had settled and thrived since the early 1900s. In 2006, it was designated as an official Census Information Center by the U.S. Census Bureau, one of 48 centers in the nation. As part of its community outreach, the Institute provides programs to help prevent substance abuse among Hamtramck youth with the aid of their parents and teachers.
This program is co-financed from the Polish community funds of the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago.
For more information, visit www.piastinstitute.org or call the office at (313) 733-4535.
The Piast Institute invites the public to hear author Imogene Salva share the true-life story of her mother Jozefa (Ziuta) Nowicka, and her family, who survived the WW II ordeal of deportation from their homeland of eastern Poland to a Siberian labor camp. Her book is called, “One Star Away.” Salva, an educator, said, “I am honored to tell my mother’s story. Growing up in New York City, I realized that my mother’s wartime experiences were shared by thousands and remain relatively unknown to the rest of the world.”
Piast Institute is proud to host Salva, Thursday, March 9, from 6-8 p.m. at the Warren Civic Center Library, 1 City Square. A link to Eventbrite: https://rb.gy/gox7jk has been added for individuals to RSVP for this special lecture, although walk-ins are also encouraged to attend. Her appearance is the first of a two-part lecture series sponsored by Piast to mark its 20th anniversary year.
In the Soviet labor camp, the Nowicki family suffered near starvation, disease, separation and arctic temperatures, until the father Konstanty (Kostek) was further emboldened to secure the escape of his wife Teodora (Tola) and six children from the camp. Their love for each other and their strong faith sustained them through the arduous journey toward freedom.
Eventually, Ziuta, with her older sister, Jadwiga (Jadzia) and their brother, Jozef (Jozek) found a second homeland during the years of 1942-1947 in an unlikely part of the world – India. This major accomplishment was due to the efforts of Polish General Sikorski who reached out to other countries to take in 500 Polish refugee children. And a generous benefactor in the form of an Indian Maharajah responded to his request.
Throughout her childhood, author Imogene Salva, traveled yearly to Poland. She studied in France and earned an M.A. in TESOL or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. A resident of Colorado, she has taught Spanish, Polish and French, K-12, in New York City and Colorado.
A nonprofit organization, the Piast Institute has grown for 20 years into a national research and policy center for Polish and Polish American Affairs and is one of 48 Census Information Centers in the country. For more information, call the office at (313) 733-4535 or visit www.piastinstitute.org.