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Celebrate Polish-American History
by Steve Norris
As a person of Polish ancestry, and whereas Western New York is, and has always been, heavily Polish, I would like to take this podium to extol the virtues of suggesting an ordinance by the Buffalo Common Council, signed by Mayor Brown, to be comprised of these elements:
First, I would like to propose renaming a street after Poland’s national writer, Adam Mickiewicz. I do acknowledge that there is already a library named after him, however, naming a street after this distinguished writer, renowned among the Polonia diaspora from Cleveland, Ohio, to St. Catharines, Ontario, to Tel Aviv, Israel to Sydney, Australia, would showcase how, just as with the Dyngus Day tradition, Buffalo is leading the way and being the epicenter of everything Polish, which is also good for tourism.
A trailblazing sign celebrating Mickiewicz’s life and importance would be an addendum to the street named after him.
In addition, I’d like to designate Poland’s Independence Day, November 11, as “Western New York’s Polish Heritage Day,” thereby celebrating the enormous contribution of Polish immigrants tot he fabric of Western New York. Perhaps inviting Poland’s Consul General to the signing ceremony of this ordinance would be expedient to the aforementioned cause.
As Poland is Europe’s sixth-largest country population-wise, with a healthier economy than most Eurozone countries, it would help spur Polish tourism, a much needed commodity nowadays, to Western New York, boosting our economy.
I’d also like to insert in my motion a clause proposing to recognize the special bond and values between Poland and the United States, the sacrifices of Polish soldiers (Kosciusko) during our Revolutionary War, and the Polish regiments during World War I, and to highlight the cultural, historical, cuisine, traditions et al. to Western New York.
Polish immigration to our neck of the woods, including Jewish immigrants from Poland, have shaped our region and are therefore part of our history. Let’s not relegate it to the history book.
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