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April 14, 2010

Velázquez Speaks in Support of Resolution Offering Sympathy to People of Poland

Washington, DC –Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives today in support of a Resolution offering sympathy to the people of Poland.  Following are her remarks as prepared for delivery:

“The loss of President Kaczynski, Poland’s First Lady and the other dignitaries is not Poland’s tragedy, alone.  All of us mourn the loss of those who helped spread the light of freedom during the Cold War. 

“Our nation enjoys deep ties to Poland.  Communities across our country have been shaped and built by millions of Polish immigrants who came to the United States seeking a better life. These immigrants -- and their descendants -- have added invaluable contributions to the rich tapestry of American culture. 

“Greenpoint, Brooklyn, in my district, has one of the most vibrant Polish-American communities in the nation.  During the 1980s, many Poles took refuge in this ‘Little Poland’ when martial law was imposed against Solidarity, back home.  To this day, storefront windows on Manhattan Avenue proudly proclaim ‘We Speak Polish’ -- a testament to the neighborhood’s enduring ties with the home country.  

“Just two years ago, President Kaczynski came to Greenpoint.  He worshipped in our churches.  He met with local leaders.  And, he visited with the people of ‘Little Poland.’  His trip there was an inspiring moment for many New Yorkers.  Today, there are heavy hearts in Greenpoint -- as there are in Polish-American communities throughout the nation.

“In coming weeks, the Polish people will grieve their loss.  We join them in mourning.  But, we can be confident that Poland will recover, carry forward and grow stronger. The fact that this crash occurred while traveling to a ceremony for another tragedy is a sad irony.  However, it also reminds us of the Polish people’s strength in the face of adversity.  That unyielding spirit shall remain an important part of Poland’s identity -- and of her many sons and daughters who reside in the United States.”