Prominent people in New York’s Croatian community recognized
- by croatiaweek
- in News
By Nada Pritisanac Matulich
The premiere of the documentary film “Ane Mljećka” in New York and the awarding of recognition to prominent individuals of the Croatian community in New York and New Jersey has taken place.
In the presence of numerous guests and the military attaché of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations in New York, Burun Lukić, and his wife, the HRT documentary film “Ane Mljećka” was premiered on March 5, 2023, in the crowded Croatian restaurant Dubrovnik, owned by Dubrovnik native, Željko Tomić.
The film is intended to promote Croatia, Mljet and Mljet National Park to the world. It is dedicated to the traditional way of life on the Adriatic coast and the Croatian islands, showing the cultural heritage of the islands through the biographical story of Ane Stražičić Rodriguez, a Croatian emigrant who has been living and working far from her homeland for decades, but returns every summer to her beloved Croatia and her Mljet.
The premiere program of the film was hosted by Petra Peša, Gordana Škugor and Srećko Mavrek from Croatian Radio, Voice of Free Croatia New York.
In addition to numerous American Croats, there were Americans with other heritages also in attendance. Many have already been to Croatia, and the rest certainly want to go as soon as possible after seeing the natural beauties of the island of Mljet, Dubrovnik and Croatia.
After the screening of the film, Ane thanked all those present with her words: “All of you who came, YOU are ME, you are Ane Mljećka, regardless of whether you are Croatian or another nationality, because all of us emigrants love our homeland above all else, but also all of us we respect and love our new homeland America which gave us everything and where we realized our American dream. God bless America, God save Croatia.”
The sponsor of this event was the American Croatian Congress (ACC), which for this occasion awarded awards to deserving individuals of the Croatian community in New York and New Jersey.
Ane Stražičić Rodriguez PR for ACC, conveyed the congratulations and thanks of the president of the American Croatian Congress, Nada Pritisanac Matulich, and handed out the awards to deserving individuals for their volunteer work in promoting Croatia, preserving cultural heritage, the Croatian language, as well as helping in organizing humanitarian actions since the time of the Homeland War and the creation of the sovereign Republic of Croatia until today.
Awards were given to Zvonimir Crnogorac, Jere Kursar, Samir Ramic, Petra Peša, Tatjana Bistre, Srećko Mavrek, Ivica Dubić and Luis A. Rodriguez.
Zvonimir Crnogorac received recognition for 50+ years of volunteer work at Croatian Radio, Voice of Free Croatia NY and 30 years of volunteer work in the preservation of Croatian cultural heritage and folklore.
Zvonimir thanked the American Croatian Congress with the words: “I thank you for your support, I am glad that my contribution to our community has been recognized for all these years of my work both on the radio and in folklore. Watching our immigrant children grow up with folklore and Croatian music for decades, how they socialize, respect and love each other, and eventually marry each other. I am one of those, my wife used to dance in folklore with me. The fruits are there, the fruits are visible, that’s why my heart and soul are full. I fulfilled everything I wanted in life.”
Jere Kursar received an award for his great contribution and humanitarian aid to the Croatian community in New York, especially for the period of the Homeland War and the creation of Croatia.
Jere, like the other winners, was very touched by the award, although he expected the award 28 years ago, and he very emotionally noted with thanks that he also acknowledges all those who prepared humanitarian actions in his La Fortuna, especially then when they organized humanitarian aid to the Croatian people and the Croatian army in the fight for their independence.
Samir Ramic was recognized by the ACC for the promotion of Croatian wines in America and humanitarian aid. Samir also received a thank-you note for this event, which arrived from Goražde, Bosnia and Herzegovina, from the Archdiocese of Vrhbosna, the parish of St. Dominika Goražde donated considerable funds for the construction of the monastery of Drinskih Martyrs. Ramic was personally handed the recognition and thank you note by the distinguished military representative of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the United Nations in New York, Mr. Bruno Lukić.
Asked what it meant to him, he expressed his gratitude to both the ACC and the Goražde Parish. The memories of where he grew up remain in his heart and that is why he always tries to help Croatian and Bosnia and Herzegovina humanitarian actions.
Petra Peša, President of the Croatian Radio Club New York, was recognized for her volunteer work at Croatian Radio “Voice of Free Croatia NY” and for promoting and preserving Croatian cultural heritage. Petra thanked the president and management of the American Croatian Congress, emphasizing that she dedicates the award to her team at Croatian Radio, especially her colleague Gordana Skugor and Emil Peša, the technical and music editor.
Tatjana Bistre was recognized for the promotion of Croatia in the world and assistance in humanitarian actions organized in New York. Tatjana stated that she was honored by the award and that she thanked ACC, that she and her entire family will continue to participate in every action to preserve the Croatian identity, promote Croatia and humanitarian actions for Croatia.
Srećko Mavrek was recognized by the ACC for his volunteer work at Croatian Radio Voice of Free Croatia NY, promoting Croatian culture, music and Croatian sports.
Asked what this recognition means to him, Srećko primarily thanked the entire ACC for recognizing his contribution to the Croatian community in NY, and for him personally it is a great honor to be among all the people who received recognition such as Jere Kursar, Zvonimir Crnogorac and others. People who have been volunteering for many years, much longer than him, considering it a really great honor, and in this sense, he thanks ACC and announces that after this he will be even more involved in voluntary work in his free time, at the level of the local community, but as a respected member and ACC journalist and globally in a series of projects that will be realized by the American Croatian Congress.
Ivica Dubić received the award for the promotion of Croatian culture by promoting it through Croatian TV America and helping in humanitarian actions in the Croatian community in New York. Pointing out that he is very proud to have received such recognition after 32 years, but also that the recognitions he receives every day from satisfied users of his services with whom he brought Croatia into the living room also mean a lot, and he is especially pleased that through Croatian TV America children they learn Croatian, so that people are informed about events in Croatia in a timely manner.
Luis A. Rodriguez, Ane’s husband, was recognized for his help and support in all humanitarian, cultural and other actions in the Croatian community of New York, where he has tirelessly and selflessly volunteered for more than two decades.
Asked how he feels after being recognized as a respected member of the community and awarded for his merits, Luis stated: “I am grateful for this special award for me, I am proud to be a member of the Croatian community even though I am not Croatian but Puerto Rican. Coming with my wife and with my children to the Croatian Center in NY and Croatian Piknik in NJ, I volunteered from the bottom of my heart all these years and became one of you.
I am extremely proud of my wife Ane and our wonderful children Michelle and Albert who, in addition to English, speak fluent Croatian and Spanish. They attended the Croatian School in NY and danced kolo in the Kardinal Stepinac group. My children proudly say that they are both American and Croatian and Puerto Rican. That’s how me and my wife raised them to respect and love their own and to respect others in the same way. We are an international family, and my children can say that they are CroRicans!”