With the red-blue divide over immigration policy and our government shut-down, it’s a very stressful time to be an immigrant. There’s a trusted, welcoming place of equal opportunity in every community: the public library. In this interview, Melissa Theroux, Literacy Coordinator, at the Boston Public Library (BPL) will tell you about the BPL’s experience hosting a Naturalization Ceremony and establishing Immigrant Information Corners in partnership with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Please tell us about the Naturalization Ceremony that the Boston Public Library hosted for Citizenship Day.
Melissa Theroux: On September 17th, 2018, we held a Naturalization Ceremony at the Central Library in Copley Square. It was an honor to be part of this inspiring event! The idea for having the ceremony on Citizenship Day came from USCIS staff at the Boston office, specifically District Director Denis Riordan. The ceremony was held in Central Library’s Rabb Lecture Hall. We had a total of ninety new citizens naturalized that morning, along with their family and friends. Boston Public Library President David Leonard, a naturalized citizen himself, gave the opening remarks, with Judge Marianne Bowler presiding. We were fortunate to have the Back Bay Chorale (a neighborhood chorus that provides outreach to community programs) present to sing during the ceremony. Afterward, the new citizens and their families were invited to a reception, where community partners were on hand to assist them with signing up for passports and registering to vote. The USCIS staff were instrumental in introducing us to partners who provide these services. Continue reading