Governor Blagojevich and First Family celebrate Polish-American Heritage Month by opening Solidarity Exhibition in Chicago
10/18/2006 - Governor Blagojevich and First Family celebrate Polish-American Heritage Month by opening Solidarity Exhibition in Chicago
Exhibition commemorates 25th Anniversary
of the Solidarity Movement
Governor receives personal message from
Head of Solidarity, Lech Walesa
CHICAGO – Joined by Chicago’s Polish-American community, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and the First Family celebrated Polish-American Heritage Month by opening the “Roads to Freedom- to Europe through Solidarity” exhibition at the St. Hyacinth Basilica. The exhibition commemorates the 25th Anniversary of the Solidarity Movement- the movement that marked the beginning of the end of the Communist system in Central Europe and the former Soviet Union.
“Illinois is home to hundreds of thousands of Polish immigrants and Polish-American residents who everyday, work hard to provide for their children and realize the American Dream,” said Governor Blagojevich. “I am very pleased this exhibition was able to come to Chicago from Poland, for the thousands of Illinois’ Polish residents to enjoy and commemorate 25 years of Solidarity. I can’t think of a better way to honor and celebrate Polish-American Heritage month than by opening and exploring this exhibition,” said Governor Blagojevich.
The “Roads to Freedom- to Europe through Solidarity” exhibition comes to Chicago from Poland and is sponsored by the Foundation for the Solidarity Center and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The exhibition includes a pictorial and informational display of the periods from 1945- 2005 that led to and include the Solidarity Movement. Four short educational movies about the movement are also presented throughout the exhibition.
The opening of the exhibit marks three very important anniversaries observed in Poland and by the Polish-American community: the 27th anniversary of John Paul II Pontiff; the 25th anniversary of the imposition of martial law by the communist government in Poland; and the 22nd anniversary of murder by the communist internal agency of Father Jerzy Popieluszko, a charismatic Catholic priest associated with the Solidarity union.
At the exhibition opening ceremony, the Governor was presented with a personal note from Lech Walesa, the leader of Solidarity and former President of Poland.
Walesa wrote, “I would like to commend you for the prominent and relentless work you have done for Poland and Polish-American community. First as U.S. Representative in the United States Congress and now as a Governor of the State of Illinois, your efforts and initiatives in ensuring that Poland enjoys its liberty and freedom are both remarkable and unparalleled. Twenty-six years ago the Solidarity movement was able to survive—thanks to moral support of the people like you. I thank you for your commitment and dedication and wish you the best of luck in your work.”
The “Roads to Freedom- to Europe through Solidarity” exhibition will remain at the St. Hyacinth Basilica in Chicago for the next few weeks.