Ukrainians active in Lone Star State

by Helen L. Filenko

HOUSTON - The Ukrainian American Cultural Club of Houston (UACCH) participated in the annual Houston International Festival, one of the largest in Texas, which boasts an attendance of several hundred thousand throughout the weekends in April. Thousands of local and international groups participate in the festival, giving the public a taste of Houston's ethnic diversity. Each year the festival is dedicated to a specific ethnic group. Africa was spotlighted this year.

The Ukrainian booth, located in the International Section of the festival, provided the public with a broad spectrum of Ukrainian art and culture. The booth overflowed with Ukrainian flags, paintings, embroidery, pysanky, books, carvings, etc. Of interest to the public were the leaflets that gave them a quick overview of Ukraine and Ukrainians.

The officers of the Ukrainian American Cultural Club worked hard to make this event a successful one. The current officers of UACCH are: Nadia Buchai, president; Oksana Danylyk, vice-president; Halia Filenko, secretary; Wolodymyr Guzylak, treasurer.

The UACCH membership is not large, but very active. The group does a tremendous amount of charity work within Texas and outside of the state. The club has a strong working relationship with Pokrova Ukrainian Catholic Parish and the Ukrainian Women's League Houston Branch. All three organizations worked together to make the 1996 Houston International Festival a successful project.

The UACCH sponsors social activities for its membership and future members. On May 18, the club organized the annual Spring Picnic in Houston's Memorial Park. Now everyone is awaiting the club's winter party during the Christmas season.

During the month of July, the club's executive board, along with students from the Ukrainian Saturday School, are preparing for the celebration of Ukrainian Independence Day on August 24. The keynote address will be given by the Rev. Andrij Dwulit, the new pastor of Pokrova Ukrainian Catholic Church. Tania Hirka, formerly of California and now a resident of Houston, will provide a historical review of the events that led to Ukraine's independence.

The Ukrainian American Cultural Club has provided aid to such worthy causes as: newsprint for Literaturna Ukraina; a book-binding machine for a library in Bukovyna; aid to Ukrainian athletes participating in the Summer Olympics in Atlanta; the Harvard University Ukrainian Studies Fund; Chor-nobyl relief efforts; and the restoration ef-forts in Lublin of the historical 18th century church from Tarnoshchina. The club sends medical journals from the world-renowned Texas Medical Center to Ukraine.

Locally the club participates in festivals and prepares a yearly Christmas Tree Exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. UACCH provides aid to numerous individual charitable causes that directly or indirectly impact Ukraine.

This small but very active Ukrainian cultural club has continued to promote the Ukrainian national identity in Texas and beyond. Its members have not forgotten their roots - they have been transplanted to Texas, but have blossomed and added to the multi-ethnic diversity that enriches the Lone Star State.

Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, August 18, 1996, No. 33, Vol. LXIV

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