49 NEW AMERICANS

During this July there were venues across our Nation—often court rooms—that scheduled Naturalization ceremonies for immigrants becoming American citizens. If you are able, I recommend you attend one of these impressive ceremonies whenever  it is scheduled in your community. These events are free and the public is always welcomed.

As an example:  Every 4th of July a Naturalization Ceremony is held in Philadelphia at the National Constitution Center.

Back in June 2016 I traveled to the Lancaster County Court House to attend the Naturalization ceremony of a Maasai friend. In July of that same year I attended a Naturalization ceremony at Pennsbury Manor–the historic home of William Penn, the founder of our state. This past Thursday July 18, I attended my third Naturalization ceremony, again at Pennsbury Manor. There were 49 men and women from 21 different countries who raised their hands and repeated the Oath of Allegiance that reads in part…

“… renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereign of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America …”

Standing to repeat The Oath

After the Oath is taken, as each name of the new American was called, they came forward to receive their official documents confirming their Citizenship in our country. Some paused as friends or family snapped their picture; many of them grinned or hugged their documents when returning to their seats. At the end of this ceremony, Austin DuSuk Yang, an American citizen formerly of South Korea described what America means to him.

For nearly two years there has been a hateful climate blowing across America. The Diversity of America was again reflected through these 49 new Americans who had abandoned their homelands in return for seeking joy, freedom, safety and success in our country.

Please Welcome our Newest Citizens who journeyed here from:

Afghanistan; Albania; Armenia; Belarus; Columbia; Ghana; India; Indonesia; Latvia; Liberia; Mexico; Poland; Romania; Russia; South Africa; South Korea; St. Vincent; Sri Lanka; Sweden; Ukraine; and Vietnam.

Disregard the noise spewing from ignorant mouths of those shouting that we “go back” to wherever we came from.  We are NOT going back.

49 Refugees on the Path toward American Citizenship

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Additional thoughts on Naturalization Ceremonies

On Thursday July 29,  I attended my second Naturalization Ceremony, this time at Bucks County’s Historic Pennsbury Manor in Morrisville, Pennsylvania. It’s apparent these ceremonies that bring new citizens in to America, are distinctively unique: Pennsbury’s was different from the one I attended last month in Lancaster County as posted on my July 14, 2016 blog: —The American Fabric.

I was looking forward to the Naturalization ceremony at Pennsbury Manor. Here there DSC_2789were rows of chairs lined between two majestic columns of towering Maple trees. With the Delaware River flowing lazily behind them and a back drop of William  Penn’s Manor in front of them, 46 candidates for citizenship from 21 countries filled the seats with their families or friends sitting next to them. All nations of many shades of skin from many different countries–just as I’d seen at my first Naturalization Ceremony–were prepared to become new citizens of America. Because I’d  traveled to Ghana, Egypt and Kenya I was drawn to candidates from that  Continent and decided to interview someone from the Motherland: Hassane Yarra.

DSC_2817Formerly from Mali, West Africa Hassane arrived in America in 1999. I was able to speak with him after the ceremony when Pennsbury re-enactors gathered around him, the tallest of all the candidates with his rich dark skin and corn rows sprouting from the crown of his head. Interviewing him was an opportunity to share with my followers another story of an immigrant who chose America as his Home.

After Hassane graduated from high school he entered college in 2012 on two scholarships–Soccer and  a second one for Track and Field. He is currently studying at the University of Pennsylvania for his Masters in Finance. Hassane described  how voting happens in his former country of Mali. A paper ballot, printed only with the name of the President requires the voter to place a YES or NO in the respective block. With election ‘officials’ watching the voter, “if an X is marked in the NO box that person may disappear and never be seen again.”

How fortunate are we!

Three Judges from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania presided over the Pennsbury Manor ceremony. They shared stories of their ancestors who arrived in America in the late 1800s and 1900s and each of them encouraged the new citizens to engage in the civic responsibilities of voting and serving on a jury.

 From left to right: Honorable Mitchell S. Goldberg; Honorable Cynthia M. Rufe; Linda A. Caracappa


From left to right: Honorable Mitchell S. Goldberg; Honorable Cynthia M. Rufe; Honorable  Linda A. Caracappa

If you are able to attend a future Naturalization Ceremony, do so. It will renew your respect and pride for America.

Hussane Yarra completing his Voters' Registration form

Hussane Yarra completing his Voters’ Registration form

The League of Women Voters of Bucks County had set up tables for the new citizens to fill out voter registration applications. Hassane was one of over two dozen new Americans who took the time to complete the application. Still others carried the forms home with them.

The last day to register to vote in Pennsylvania is Tuesday October 11. For more information contact the League of Women Voters, Bucks County at 215.230.9986. Every vote matters, especially in this Presidential election.

Vote in Every Election. Still matters, always matters.