Texas Czech Heritage Month

October is Czech Heritage Month

The Texas Legislature has declared the month of October as “Czech Heritage Month” in Texas.

History of the Texas, Czechoslovak, and Czech Heritage

Coat of arms with national motto "Pravda vítězí" (Truth prevails) and leaves of linden tree.

Coat of arms with national motto "Pravda vítězí" (Truth prevails) and leaves of linden tree.

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  • Měsíc říjen obvykle přináší po celém Texasu mnoho festivalů na oslavu a uctění dědictví českých potomků. 28. říjen je také datem, kdy byl po první světové válce založen první samostatný československý stát z území, která byla dříve součástí Rakousko-Uherska. Prezident Tomáš G. Masaryk se stal vůdcem státu, který byl založen na 14 bodech prezidenta Woodrowa Wilsona, zejména na principu sebeurčení. Československo se stalo jednou z prvních úspěšných vícestranných parlamentních demokracií v Evropě a bylo dostatečně stabilní, aby odolalo mezinárodní krizi 30. let. Přestože Československo dnes již neexistuje, Češi a Slováci nadále vnímají 28. říjen jako den svého národního založení.

     V celém Texasu žije více než milion lidí, kteří se mohou hlásit k českému dědictví. Jsou velmi hrdí na to, že mohou se zbytkem Texasu sdílet své příspěvky v oblasti umění, hudby, literatury, jídla, folklóru a mnoha dalších zvyků, které jsou součástí bohaté a rozmanité kultury Texasu. Tito čeští potomci stejně jako potomci slovenského a slezského lidu, kteří dnes tvoří současnou Českou a Slovenskou republiku, jsou známí svou příkladnou pracovní etikou a láskou k demokracii a vytvořili standardy znamenitosti jako soukromí i veřejní občané, kterým všichni mohou aspirovat uznání.

    Texaský zákonodárný sbor vyhlásil v roce 1999 měsíc říjen „Měsícem českého dědictví“. Tento program se bude věnovat příběhu Čechů, kteří přišli do Texasu již v roce 1851, a jejich neuvěřitelným vlivům na minulost, současnost a budoucnost Texasu. Panel bude tvořit generální konzul Brian Vanicek, soudce Eddie Janecka a Dr. Joseph Kotarba. Moderátorem panelu bude Joseph Baar Topinka.

    HONORALNI KONZUL BRIAN VANÍČEK je Texasan druhé generace česko-moravského původu. Brian, absolvent Texaské univerzity v Austinu z roku 1983, pracoval více než 35 let ve finančních službách a v současnosti působí jako prezident a generální ředitel SPJST. Zorganizovaný v roce 1897 texaskými průkopníky českého původu, SPJST poskytuje svým 40 000 členům finanční zabezpečení bratrského životního pojištění doplněné o rodinný program, který předává ceněné tradice české kultury. Brian obdržel v roce 2010 bronzovou pamětní medaili Černínského paláce od Ministerstva zahraničních věcí České republiky za významné zásluhy o zachování a propagaci vztahů mezi Českou republikou a Spojenými státy americkými a byl jmenován honorárním konzulem České republiky pro stát of Texas v roce 2014. Brian jako konzul pomáhal při zprostředkování několika obchodních návštěv v Texasu mezi úředníky českého ministerstva a obchodních zástupců. Kromě toho pomáhal Velvyslanectví České republiky s úsilím o pomoc při katastrofách ve městě West v Texasu po výbuchu továrny na hnojiva v roce 2013 a spolupracoval s úředníky velvyslanectví na pomoci po hurikánu Harvey ve a zasaženému městu La Grange v Texasu v roce 2017. Brian slouží jako poradce Amerických přátel České republiky a jako ředitel České vzdělávací nadace v Texasu.

    SOUDCE ED JANECKA se narodil v Dubině v Texasu v roce 1946. Naučil se mluvit česky dříve než anglicky. Navštěvoval místní školy a má dva bakalářské tituly ze Sam Houston State University. Je ženatý a jeho manželka se jmenuje Margie. Mají pět dětí a šest vnoučat. Je  veteránem z vietnamské války. V roce 1991 se stal soudcem okresu Fayette a sloužil 28 let. Za jeho působení bylo dosaženo mnoha úspěchů. Některé zahrnují uvedení Junior College do Fayette County a také VA kliniky. Vytvořil celokrajský recyklační program a útulek pro zvířata. Byl také hnací silou k renovaci soudní budovy v Fayette County. Pomohl přinést České dědictví a kulturní centrum do Fayette County. Vymyslel a zrealizoval obnovu katolického kostela svatého Cyrila a Metoděje v Dubině, který je jedním ze slavných texaských „malovaných kostelů“. Soudce Janečka se vždy zajímal o historii a je hrdý na svůj český původ. Rozsáhle psal o historii Fayette County a zejména o české historii.

    DR JOSEPH A. KOTARBA je profesorem sociologie na Texas State University-San Marcos, kde působí jako ředitel projektu „Music Across the Course of Life Project“. Dr. Kotarba také slouží jako lékařský sociolog a etnograf v Institutu pro translační vědy na lékařské pobočce Galvestonské univerzity v Texasu. Doktorát získal na Kalifornské univerzitě v San Diegu. Připravovaná kniha Dr. Kotarby má název „Music Across the Course of Life“ (Routledge Press, 2021). Se svou ženou Polly bydlí ve Woodcreek v Texasu a svůj volný čas rád tráví na své zeleninové zahrádce.

    JOSEPH BAAR TOPINKA je docentem praxe na School of Health Administration na Texas State University. Je držitelem bakalářského titulu z University of Illinois v Champaign-Urbana; doktor práv z Northern Illinois University; MBA ze Saint Martin's University v Lacey, Washington; magistr práv, Vojenské právo, United States Army Judge General's Advocate School, Charlottesville, Virginie; magistr zdravotnické správy z Chapman University v Orange v Kalifornii; a magistr práv, Zdravotní právo, z  Loyola University v Chicagu. Za posledních deset let publikoval nebo spoluvydával mnoho děl, včetně Just Judy, Občan a vůdce pro Illinois, o jeho zesnulé matce Judy Baar Topince, pozoruhodné novinářce, političce a československé obhájkyni v Illinois. Kniha se zabývá občanskou naukou, vedením a láskou k dědictví.

    Členové panelu a Texas State University Office of Diversity and Inclusion doporučují všem účastníkům programu prostudovat si komplexní přehled vypracovaný Texas State Historical Association na https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/czechs.

The Texas Legislature declared the month of October as “Czech Heritage Month” in 1999. The month of October typically brings many festivals throughout the State of Texas to celebrate and honor the heritage of this state’s Czech descendants.

October 28 marks the date when the first independent Czechoslovak state was founded after World War I from territories that were previously part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. President Tomáš G. Masaryk became the leader of a state that was based on President Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points, especially the principle of self-determination.  Czechoslovakia became one of Europe’s first successful multi-party parliamentary democracies, and it was stable enough to withstand the international depression of the 1930s.

Although Czechoslovakia no longer exists today, Czechs and Slovaks continue to view October 28 as the day of their national founding. There are over one million people living in all areas of Texas and all walks of life who can claim Czech heritage.  They take great pride in sharing with the rest of the state their contributions in the areas of art, music, literature, food, folklore, and many other fine customs that are part of Texas’ rich diverse culture.  These Czech as well as descendants of Slovak and Silesian people who today make up the present Czech and Slovak Republics are renowned for their exemplary work ethics and love of democracy and have established standards of excellence as both private and public citizens to whom all can aspire recognition.

Upcoming Events

Sponsored by:
Division of Inclusive Excellence, Inclusive Excellence - Student Connections and Belonging, Student Involvement, and School of Health Administration

Texas Czech Heritage Month Panel

Tuesday, October 25, 2022
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM 
Virtual via Zoom

A Conversation Between Czech and American Students…What They Can Learn from Each Other in an Ever-Shrinking World

  • The month of October typically brings many festivals throughout the State of Texas to celebrate and honor the heritage of this state’s Czech descendants.  October 28 also marks the date when the first independent Czechoslovak state was founded after World War I from territories that were previously part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  President Tomáš G. Masaryk became the leader of a state that was based on President Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points, especially the principle of self-determination.  Czechoslovakia became one of Europe’s first successful multi-party parliamentary democracies, and it was stable enough to withstand the international depression of the 1930s.  Although Czechoslovakia no longer exists today, Czechs and Slovaks continue to view October 28 as the day of their national founding.

    There are over one million people living in all areas of Texas and all walks of life who can claim Czech heritage.  They take great pride in sharing with the rest of the state their contributions in the areas of art, music, literature, food, folklore, and many other fine customs that are part of Texas’ rich diverse culture.  These Czech as well as descendants of Slovak and Silesian people who today make up the present Czech and Slovak Republics are renowned for their exemplary work ethics and love of democracy and have established standards of excellence as both private and public citizens to whom all can aspire recognition.  

    This program will address the lives of students in the Czech Republic, primarily at Masaryk University, one of the Czech Republic’s premiere universities named after the late, first President of a free Czechoslovakia.  Students in the Czech Republic have so much to share with students in the United State and students in the United States have so much to share with students in the Czech Republic.  We hope this panel will be a model for other universities to use to bring students together from both countries.  Participants will be Ambassador Miloslav Stasek, Adam Weschsler, Daniel Jirku, and Hiroko Martin.  Moderating the panel will be Joseph Baar Topinka.

Texas Czech Heritage Panelists

Texas Czech Heritage Panelists

  • Ambasador Miloslav Stasek is the former secretary of state at the Foreign Ministry.  Previously, Stasek had been the ambassador to Egypt and India.  Since 2015, he has been working at the Foreign Ministry, where he was first the head of the economic diplomacy department, and from 2016, was the deputy minister for the control of the economic and operations section.  He also served as the director of the Middle East and Africa department.

  • DANIEL JIRKU is the President of the Student Chamber of the Masaryk University Academic Senate, the university’s highest democratically elected body.  He represents more than 34,000 students. Daniel has been serving in the representative bodies of the university since 2017; first as a senator, then as Student Body President of the Faculty of Social Studies.  Since 2021, he has been part of the university's Crisis Committee, which is responsible for strategic management of the COVID-19 response.  He also currently serves as a member of the Security Emergency Board, which manages the University's security policy in response to the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis.  Daniel is a MA student in International Relations.  He holds a Master's degree in Political Science and a Bachelor's degree with a double major in Political Science and International Relations.  On the side, he happily studies geography trivia and routes up the rock wall.  Between the two biggest cities of the Czech Republic, Brno and Prague, Daniel now tries to maintain his university and working life.  In Prague, he works as a parliamentary assistant in the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. He would like to pursue a future career in diplomatic service.

  • Adam Weschler is a 5th year medical student at Masaryk University in Brno.  He is a member of the Academic Senate’s Student Chamber of the university and a former president of the Academic Senate’s Student Chamber of the Faculty of Medicine.  To gain more experience in the field of surgery – which is his desired career path – he works in the Trauma Hospital of Brno as a healthcare assistant.  During the COVID-19, Adam and his colleagues established a med students volunteer platform coordinating students who were willing to help medical entities cope with the onslaught of the pandemic.  For this, he later received an honorary bronze medal of the Masaryk University.  His connection to American culture runs deep, as part of his family lives in Philadelphia.  That's one of the reasons he started playing baseball.  It soon became his passion and allowed him to travel the world with Czech youth national teams and play at the highest level, such as the 2014 World Cup in Mexico and the 2015 Colt World Series in Lafayette, Indiana.  Although he no longer plays and is pursuing his medical studies, his love for the sport remains as he still a huge Phillies fan.

  • Pavel Kraus is a Junior at McNeese State University located in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Before coming to the United States, he studied at Brno University of Technology for three semesters. He is majoring in Civil Engineering with a minor in Business Administration. He is a member of the Honors College at McNeese. After being the Social Media Director, Pavel was elected to be the Vice President and Student Government Association Representative for the student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Being active within this student organization allows him to be the captain of the Concrete Canoe team. Because of certain restrictions for international students, he chose to work as a teacher’s assistant for the Department of Engineering and Computer Science at McNeese while working on research focusing on using agricultural waste in concrete. His journey to the US was only possible because of being a student-athlete (track and field, cross country). 

  • Hiroko Martin is a final year medical student at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. A native of El Paso, Texas, she received her bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Texas at El Paso before crossing the Atlantic Ocean and settling in central Europe. In 2017, she took part in a humanitarian relief mission providing medical care in underserved areas throughout Ghana. A lifelong learner, Hiroko is passionate about research and academia. At Masaryk University, she has been a member of the Masaryk International Medical Students' Association, focusing on pre-clinical education through the development of multimedia learning materials and interactive medical algorithms, tutoring, and serving as a student representative for her year. She has also contributed to an assortment of English-language instructional materials intended for official use within the curriculum for international students of general medicine at the university. Her specialty of interest is radiology, and she has been involved in research at the Department of Radiology at the Bohunice Faculty Hospital in Brno since 2018. After graduation, she intends to pursue her love for academia through postgraduate studies while undergoing residency. Outside of education, Hiroko is a "foodie" and enjoys traveling. She has wholly appreciated the opportunity to absorb Czech culture and language while living in Czechia, and hopes to add "fluent Czech" as the fifth language to her linguistic library.

Chris Rybak Band

Chris Rybak Band

Tuesday, October 25, 2022
11:30 PM - 1:00 PM
LBJ Student Center Mall
Between LBJSC and Alkek

Combining his love of music, proud Czech heritage and magnetic personality, this "Accordion Cowboy" has what it takes to entertain audiences of all ages through his showmanship and fresh enthusiastic musical style. Chris's music includes Country & Western, Polka, Cajun, Tex-Mex, Folk, Gospel, Classical and other styles.

Miss Texas Czech Slovak Queen of 2022-23

Miss Texas Czech Slovak Queen of 2022-23

Special Guest Appearance

Miss Texas Czech Slovak Queen of 2022-23
Destiny Hollingsworth

Destiny Hollingsworth, a junior at O'Connor High School, was crowned Miss Texas Czech-Slovak Queen on April 23, 2022 at the Czech Heritage Society of Texas pageant in West, Texas. Destiny, who has both Slovak and Irish ancestry, represented the Bexar County chapter of the Czech Heritage Society.

As part of the competition, Destiny wore and fully described her traditional Slovak Kroj, or costume, from her mother's hometown in Slovakia. She also performed in the talent portion with an Irish stepdance to the song "Warriors" in honor of her Irish ancestors. As part of her duties as Queen, Destiny will educate others about the Czech and Slovak cultures and travel to Czech and Slovak events throughout Texas.

Proclamation by the City of San Marcos, Texas

Proclamation by the City of San Marcos, Texas

Proclamation by Hays County, Texas

Proclamation by Hays County, Texas

The State of Texas Governor - Official Recognition

The State of Texas Governor - Official Recognition

Proclamation by Cooke County, Texas

Proclamation by Cooke County, Texas

Proclamation by the City of San Antonio, Texas

Proclamation by the City of San Antonio, Texas

Czech-Slovak Heritage Festival

Upcoming Event

Bexar County Czech Heritage Society: Czech-Slovak Heritage Festival -- Sunday, October 2, 2022 from 12:30 PM - 3:30 PM at 102 Lorenz Rd, San Antonio, TX 78209

Previously Recorded

"A Celebration of Texas Czech Heritage Month" - Fall 2021
Event held on Wednesday, October 27, 2021

This panel program will address story of the Czechs who came to Texas as early as 1851 and their incredible influences on Texas past, present, and future. List of panelists provided below.

All program participants are highly encouraged to review the comprehensive overview of prepared by the Texas State Historical Association at:
https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/czechs

Panelist for "A Celebration of Texas Czech Heritage Month" - Fall 2021

Photo of Brian Vanicek

Brian Vanicek

  • Consul General Brian Vanicek is a second-generation Texan of Czech-Moravian ancestry. 

    A 1983 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Brian has worked for more than 35 years in financial services and currently serves as President and CEO of SPJST. Organized in 1897 by Texas pioneers of Czech descent, SPJST provides its 40,000 members with the financial security of fraternal life insurance complemented by a family program that imparts the cherished traditions of the Czech culture. 

    Brian received the Czernin Palace Bronze Memorial Medal from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic in 2010 for significant contributions in preserving and promoting relations between the Czech Republic and the United States of America and was designated Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic for the State of Texas in 2014. 

    As Consul, Brian has assisted in facilitating multiple trade visits to Texas by Czech Ministry officials and business representatives.  Additionally, he has assisted the Embassy of the Czech Republic with disaster relief efforts in West, Texas following the fertilizer plant explosion in 2013 and worked with Embassy officials on Hurricane Harvey relief efforts benefitting the city of La Grange, Texas in 2017. 

    Brian serves as an Advisor to the American Friends of the Czech Republic and as a director of the Czech Educational Foundation of Texas, Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center in La Grange, Czech Center Museum Houston and the Czech Heritage Museum and Genealogical Center of Temple. 

    Brian and his wife, Joan, have been married for 34 years, enjoy entertaining and have two grown children, Stephanie and Samuel.

Photo of Ed Janecka

Ed Janecka

  • Judge Ed Janecka was born in Dubina, Texas in 1946.  He learned to speak Czech before he did English.  He attended the local schools and has two bachelor degrees from Sam Houston State University.  He is married to his wife Margie.  They have five children and six grandchildren.  He is a Vietnam Veteran. 

    He became Fayette County Judge in 1991 and served for 28 years.  During his tenure there were many accomplishments.  Some include bringing a Junior College to Fayette County, and also a VA clinic.  He created a county wide recycling program and animal shelter.  He also was a driving force to renovate the Fayette County Courthouse. 

    He was instrumental in bringing the Czech Heritage and Cultural Center to Fayette County.  He conceived and implemented the restoring of Saints Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church in Dubina which is one of the famous Texas “painted churches.” 

    Judge Janecka has always been interested in history and is proud of his Czech heritage.  He has written extensively on Fayette County history and in particular, Czech history. 

Photo of Dr. Joseph A. Kotarba

Dr. Joseph A. Kotarba

  • Dr. Joseph A. Kotarba is Professor of Sociology at Texas State University, where he serves as Director of the “Music Across the Course of Life Project.” 

    Dr. Kotarba also serves as Medical Sociologist and Ethnographer at the Institute for Translational Sciences at the University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston. 

    He received his doctorate from the University of California-San Diego. 

    Dr. Kotarba’s forthcoming book is “Music Across the Course of Life” (Routledge Press, 2021). 

    He resides in Woodcreek, Texas with his wife, Polly, and likes to spend his free time in his vegetable garden.       

Photo of Dr. Joseph Baar Topinka

Dr. Joseph Baar Topinka

  • JOSEPH BAAR TOPINKA is an Associate Professor of Practice in the School of Health Administration at Texas State University. 

    He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana; a Juris Doctor from Northern Illinois University; a Master of Business Administration from Saint Martin's University in Lacey, Washington; a Master of Laws, Military Law, United States Army Judge Advocate General’s School, Charlottesville, Virginia; a Master of Health Administration from Chapman University in Orange, California; and a Master of Laws, Health Law, Loyola University Chicago. 

    He has published or co-published many works over the last ten years including Just Judy, A Citizen and Leader for Illinois, about his late Mother, Judy Baar Topinka, a noteworthy journalist, politician, and Czechoslovak advocate in Illinois. The book addresses civics, leadership, and love of heritage.