Once more members of LWVGH attended the Naturalization ceremony at Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, MA to help welcome 602 new American citizens from 80 countries. This was our sixth appearance at the ceremony and, like before, our job was to make sure that all of the new citizens were given registration applications in order to enable them to vote in the coming elections.
As people entered the auditorium, they were greeted by members of our team. We provided them with their registration applications and informed them about the choices they had for registering: (1) at the event; (2) at home; or (3) online. We also gave each of them a small American flag.
The people waiting to be sworn in varied not only in nationality but also in age from young adults to senior citizens. There were also those who have been in the United States for quite some time (15 years or more). When asked why they decided to become citizens now, the answer was always the same: because they wanted to vote. And, of course, there were the really lucky ones – children under 18. The minute their parents received their citizenship certificate, they became citizens too!
Before the actual ceremony began, Supervisory Immigration Officer Joseph Forte explained to the crowd what to expect when the judge arrived on stage.
LWVGH member Eva Rajczyk delivered the League’s welcome address and explained the process for filling out the voter registration forms.
The presiding judge this time was the Honorable Joan N. Feeney, a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge in Boston. She told the assembled audience that her grandparents were immigrants who came to the United States from Ireland. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by the children of a new citizen from Sweden.
As our newest citizens left the Auditorium, 250 registration applications from 58 towns and cities were turned in to us according to a tally done later by Lois Hartman and Carol Pelchat.
As always, LWVGH congratulates everyone who became a citizen on February 15th and welcomes them into our growing American family.
Take a look at the pictures from the event at Citizenship Ceremony in Lowell!