A message for the 41 people from 23 countries who gained U.S. citizenship yesterday during a ceremony City Hall of Trenton.
Don’t squander this enormous chance to not only have a fantastic life including a chicken in every pot, prosperity, freedom and other welcoming gifts but also offers an opportunity to improve a nation.
U.S. citizenship is a lot like a fuel-efficient car. Means nothing and has limited value if you leave the vehicle parked in a driveway or covered inside a garage. Citizenship is for people of action, people who enjoy freedom, who visit museums and parks, read, love opportunity, worship, celebrate diversity and who understand the commodity of free speech and the power in casting a ballot.
Rep. Bonnie Watson-Coleman (D-12th) reminded celebrants that citizenship offers a wide berth of opportunity. “As new citizens, I ask that you take full advantage of all your citizenship. We have in this country, a collective responsibility for the well-being of those who have the least among us — and to be our brothers and our sisters keepers,” Watson-Coleman said.
“We have a responsibility in this country to promote democracy, diplomacy and peace. And we have a responsibility in this country to show the rest of the world how we can thrive as a melting pot, as the most diverse country in the entire world. How we can get along and respect each other and find the similarities that brought us together, not so much the differences which are small and almost meaningless when it comes to representing the best of who we are.”
Diversity provided a technicolor ceremony as John Thompson, Newark District director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, served as master of ceremonies. Ya-Mei Chen, field director of USCIS Mt. Laurel, led the Administration of the Oath of Allegiance.
New citizens hailed from Bulgaria, China, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Haita, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Jordan, Latvia, Liberia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Turkey.
Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora recognized seven celebrants as city residents. “I look forward to your participation in city affairs. I hope that you take pride in your community and help us to move the city forward,” Gusciora said.
The mayor reminded citizens that “the foundation of our nation is not by race or religion, but it’s by principles of freedom, liberty and equality. Now that you are becoming U.S. citizens, you have a responsibility not only to your country and family but to your community. And we urge you to get active in your community.”
Jonatan Sescafuller of Sewell (Gloucester County) via Dominican Republic, celebrated citizenship with his wife, Jeanette, his mother, Maria, enjoying a two-month visit to the States, daughter Jeanette, and son, Jason.
“It’s hard to put into words what I’m feeling right now. Proud? Yes. This is something I’ve wanted since moving to the United States four years ago,” Sescafuller said. Jeanette beamed. She praised her husband for working diligently to gain his citizenship.
Unfortunately, once achieved, earned or offered, no real maintenance of citizenship is required. No requirement exists for people to participate in elections, community or municipality. And, as mentioned during the ceremony, most of the new citizens have better knowledge of U.S. history that those born and raised under the Stars & Stripes.
Major thanks to Citizen Amy Brummer who helped organize this event. Ms. Brummer as a Trenton resident exemplifies citizenship, freedom and power.
Final advice for these new citizens? Please, whatever you do, step away from those people who spread hate, division, promote ignorance, endorse racism, bigotry, inequality, segregation and supremacy of any kind.
When used properly, celebrated and enjoyed, citizenship delivers unimaginable power and success.