Milestones in the story of The Polish American Congress
Part III – 1995-2009
1995: The PAC backs voter registration efforts in the Polish American community and responds to a tragic fire in Gdansk, Poland by sending special supplies to the many burn victims.
1996: During the presidential campaign the PAC strongly urges the candidates to support Poland’s entry into NATO and immigration reform, and affirming America’s commitment to the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. A major ally is Congressman William Lipinski of Illinois.
1997: President Clinton moves forward Poland’s admission into NATO; the PAC acts effectively on behalf of Polish flood victims and on immigration reform.
1998: The national ancestry question is retained for the 2000 census through PAC efforts.
The highly successful Polish American Enterprise Fund is defended with the support of Senators Mikulski and Simon and Congressman David Obey of Wisconsin.
1999: The admission of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into NATO is approved by all sixteen members of the Alliance. PAC members take part in the celebrations in Washington. A U.S. Congressional Caucus on Central and Eastern Europe is created through PAC efforts.
2000: The PAC effectively fights for justice against policemen involved in shakedowns of Polish immigrants in Chicago.
2001: The PAC Charitable Foundation raises $125,000 on behalf of the victims of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington on September 11.
2002: The PAC defends thousands of Polish students who are victims of errors in the management of the J-1 visa work/travel program to the United States. The PAC is invited by the Speaker of the Polish Senate to participate in the Polonia Advisory Council; The PAC also takes a lead role in the Council of World Polonia under National Executive Director Les Kuczynski. Barbara Borzuchowska Andersen of the Washington, DC office introduces an internship in the Nation’s Capital for Polish American university students.
2003: The City of Chicago settles a lawsuit brought by the PAC over the unfair gerrymandering of the city’s Polish American community.
2005: Frank J. Spula becomes president of the PNA and the PAC following the death of President Moskal.
2006: The PAC’s Washington, D.C. office begins offering a number of programs in the Capital to present the Polish American contribution to the U.S.
2007: The PAC inaugurates its Medal of Freedom and honors Casimir Lenard as its first recipient. Senators Barbara Mikulski of Maryland in 2008 and George Voinovich of Ohio in 2009 are recipients of the PAC’s highest recognition.
2008: The PAC passes an amendment to its by-laws prohibiting collaborators with communist regimes from holding office in the organization. This action reaffirms the PAC’s historic position as stated in its by-laws.
Annual “Polish American Congress Days” begin to be held in Washington DC and state capitals across the country. President Spula travels to Poland to reaffirm the PAC’s close ties with the Polish government.
2009: PAC remains active in working closely with US Administration and legislators on several legislative initiatives, to include resolutions celebrating 90 years of US-Poland diplomatic relations; commemorating 20 years since the round table talks and first free elections in Poland; urging the Postal Services to issue a stamp honoring Matt Urban; recognizing 6,135 Poles recognized by Yad Vashem as “Righteous Among the Nations” for helping their Jewish neighbors during WWII; recognizing 70th anniversary of the beginning of WWII as well as Soviet invasion on Poland; proclaiming Casimir Pulaski to be an honorary citizen of the United States posthumously, to name a few. Many of those bills were suggested to the Congressional offices and by the Polish American Congress,
PAC launches new, revised Web site: www.PAC1944.org as well as joins FaceBook.
PAC holds in Chicago its first National Conference, entitled “The Polish American Community in the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities” designed to bring together representatives of the Polish American Community nationwide and to initiate a discussion about the future of the Community.