I never imagined that I would become a U.S citizen while volunteering on my first political campaign. It is hard to explain what it will feel like to cast my very first vote for someone whom I admire so much and for whose vision I have been devoting myself day in and day out. My personal story, though an unlikely testimony, is also an example of the promise of U.S citizenship.
Moved by the outlook of a better life for her 11-year old daughter in the United States, my mother, like many other immigrant parents, put her own career and dreams aside in order to make mine possible. I was blessed with devoted and caring teachers, professors, and counselors. Like many young people in this country, I also worked while I attended high school and college, learning from my mother the value of taking risks, setting goals, and working hard without taking my eyes off the horizon. Almost ten years and a bachelor’s degree later, I finally became a U.S citizen.
As I raised my hand to take the oath of allegiance, I found myself in awe and admiration of the fact that it is the same one that generations of Americans have been reciting since the creation of this country. Like me, none of the people standing in the rows of the courtroom would take U.S citizenship as anything less than a privilege for which they have been patiently waiting for many years. It was a special day, not only for all 150 people at the oath ceremony but for the entire country to which we will continue to contribute as U.S citizens. In some ways, working for a campaign is like becoming a U.S citizen. Today, I feel that I am part of something bigger than myself, that there is hope in a better future, and that I will go above and beyond to make that happen. I leave you with the words that resonated the most with me from President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address, words that I can now say I live by as an American:
“What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task. This is the price and the promise of citizenship.”