Plaza Voices: Citizens

Every spring, the Services to Immigrants and Refugees team hosts a naturalization ceremony for new citizens at the Central Library, in partnership with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service and local organizations. These are private ceremonies, open only to participating citizens and their guests, distinguished speakers, and library staff who are on hand to help. We feel honored and fortunate to bear witness to this important moment in the lives of new Americans and their families. It is an emotional day, both solemn and joyful, and an unforgettable experience.

But these ceremonies aren't the only way we mark this milestone. Across Denver, community members go to the Plaza program to study for their naturalization test, and they often return, certificates in hand, to celebrate with their friends at the library. Here are a few of their stories, shared by a Plaza staff member:

Graciela is a new American citizen! After participating in our Plaza program for over a year, she passed her naturalization exam while Plaza was on winter break. We started a new year of Plaza with her bringing her naturalization certificate and celebrating her success with her. When asked what she likes about Plaza, she responded, "What did I not like?! I love everything - the patience, repetition, practice, etc. - all of it. It was my dream [to pass the exam]." Her next goal is to continue improving her English. Congratulations to Graciela!

Clara is a new American citizen! She passed her naturalization exam in December and ran into another Plaza participant, Maria, at their naturalization ceremony. Clara attended Plaza for two years and appreciated the patience and encouragement we provided. She hopes we continue to provide Plaza for those who need it. Congratulations, Clara!

Ricardo is a brand new American citizen! He studied with us in our Plaza program for one year. He recommends anyone studying for the exam to take their time on the writing practice. Congratulations to Ricardo!

Maria is a new American citizen! She studied with us in our Plaza program for two years. She appreciates how much help she received to learn all the questions, and she says Plaza is a place where anyone can feel comfortable because the staff has a lot of patience. Her next goal is to continue learning English, have a better job, and also be an example to people who feel like they can't do it, because they can with help from the staff. Congratulations to Maria!

Plazas are an open community space where migrants from all over the world connect with people, information, and resources, building Denver’s global community. Come to practice a language, prepare for citizenship, pursue your goals, and create your future. Whatever you’re doing, we can help! Please see our web page for more information.

Written by Plaza Voices on April 24, 2019