Congratulations to Lora and her daughter Louisa for being sworn in as a citizen of the United States on June 27. All of us at ALC are proud of them and grateful to our tutor Ellen.
Working to become a citizen is not a small task. It involves months and months of preparation learning English, civics, US History and culminates in a written and oral test. Many arrive in the United States unable to complete routine tasks. Imagine going to the grocery store and not being able to read the labels or attending your child's parent-teacher conference without knowing what the teacher is telling you. Not scheduling a doctor's appointment unless you have an english speaker able to attend with you. Many of us take these routine tasks for granted. We may not realize how scary and isolating it can be to live in a new culture needing to learn a new language.
For many, becoming a citizen is the realization of a dream come true. People come to the United States for freedom, opportunity, democracy and stability. At the citizenship ceremony the judge mentioned that throughout history nations organized themselves around ethnicity, skin color, religion or demographics. The United States is the first country to organize around a document: the constitution. Citizenship is based on one's allegiance to the values put forth in the constitution. When becoming a citizen candidates agree to support the values found in the constitution: freedom, democracy and the pursuit of happiness. These values are not an entitlement. They must be nurtured, fostered and defended. Advocating for democracy demands that we defend the right of others to argue for their values even if they are in direct opposition to our own convictions. It was an honor to be at this ceremony which celebrates the soul of the United States.
Lora and Louisa you are an inspiration to us. You reminds us that freedom and democracy should not be taken for granted.
Congratulations and Thank you for inspiring us today!