Polonia refers to Poles or those of Polish decent living outside of Poland (similar to the term “Diaspora” in Jewish culture). More specifically, it refers to Polish communities in the United States, especially in such places as Chicago and Buffalo, where Dingus Day is actually a local attraction and event.
Buffalo Polonia centers around the East Side, in the “Broadway Market” neighborhood. Nearby St. Stanislaus Church is called the “Mother Church of Polonia”, Corpus Christi Church being the other main Polish-heritage parish. Out of this pocket of culture sprung Polish merchants associations that later merged to form the Professional and Businessmen Association, of which I have been a member for many years. The local Polonia news source is the Am-Pol Eagle, but the national paper, the Polish American Journal, is published from nearby Boston, New York. The Buffalo-Rzeszow Sister Cities organization, of which i was on the board of directors for a time, has regular trips to Poland, meeting with their municipally-run counterpart office in Rzeszów, Poland.
Dunkirk Polonia hisorically makes up two of the four wards of the City (traditionally the other two, one being German, the other Italian). This is where my entire family is from, and when I started interacting with Buffalo Poles found it to be a somewhat different variation of the culture. My grandfather was a member of the Kosciuszko Club around the corner from where he lived, a tavern/hall commonly known as the “Dog House”. The two Polish parishes were St. Hedwig’s and St. Hyacinth’s, the former of which has a cemetery just off the thruway exit where many of my relatives are interned. Jenn Stuczynski’s branch of the family lives in next-door Fredonia, NY and owns the “Fredonia Mini-Mart”, formerly a “Convenient” store franchise.
Here are some flags of my own design that I am proposing be made to honor Poles in America and the unique relationship between the United States and Poland. All have the white eagle without a crown to symbolize democracy and two have only 13 stars to represent the active role of Poland and the Polish people since the founding of the American republic. If anyone has any interest in making these flags individually or manufactured for commercial sale, please contact me.