Celebration of Diversity

written by Nataliia Zaitseva from Ukraineoak

From the very first orientation meeting in DC I understood how different all the fellows are. 68 totally different fellows from different countries came to the US to learn about best practices of governance, business and education. Ethnic diversity is one of the main aspects which differs the US from my native country Ukraine.

Every year US Government gives around 50,000 green cards for immigrants who decided to live and work in the US.

I was happy to see the unique ceremony in Macomb County, Mount Clemens, MI on November 2, where I was a fellow at the Macomb County Executive`s Office. It is called the naturalization ceremony.

The naturalization ceremony created to recognize the rights, responsibilities, and importance of citizenship and provide access to services for new citizens. It is the culmination of the naturalization process.

Each year a group of people from the Macomb community become naturalized and get their American citizenship. Macomb County executives try to make administrative naturalization ceremonies positive and memorable moments in the lives of the citizens.

The first naturalization ceremony in Macomb County was held in 2014 and now is annual. Most of naturalized citizens came from Middle Eastern Countries.

This year 24 individuals from 16 different countries including: Albania, Bangladesh, China, Croatia, Germany, India, Iraq, Jordan, Korea, Lebanon, Liberia, Peru, Poland, South Korea, Tunisia and Yemen become naturalized. During ceremony immigrants become U.S. citizens by taking the Oath of Allegiance. For some of them the whole process lasted for 6 years.

Pam Lavers, Deputy County Executive, started with remarks and mentioned that Macomb County is a multicultural community and new citizens are highly welcomed to participate in the community life.

County Executive Mark A. Hackel in his remarks highlighted that diversity of Macomb County is incredible and it is very important for county authorities to enlarge the population, so Macomb is open for all!

After remarks, a keynote speaker, Inge Zomboreanu Boettcher, a Macomb County Community Mental Health employee that shared her own citizenship story. She went from Romania in 1990 and was naturalized in 1996. She pointed that they didn’t have such ceremony and it is a great idea to host the ceremony in Macomb county.

Following Inge’s story, the ceremony proceeded to the Oath of Allegiance led by the Honorable Judge George Caram Steeh from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Multicultural diversity is an integral part of American life. Participating in the naturalization ceremony was a unique experience which I never seen before.

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