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City of Roanoke celebrates newly naturalized citizens

Updated: Jun. 19, 2021 at 3:39 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The City of Roanoke celebrated naturalized citizens Saturday afternoon.

Roanoke teamed up with Commonwealth Catholic Charities, Blue Ridge Literacy, Local Colors, the Roanoke Arts Commission, Old Navy, and Welcoming America to host a celebration for 25 newly-naturalized citizens and their families. The event took place outside the Main Library on Jefferson Street.

Organizers said this celebration comes after COVID-19 prevented formal recognition ceremonies for new citizens. Welcoming America gave the city a mini-grant to help put on Saturday’s ceremony.

“Becoming an American citizen is a very important life goal for many of our learners. It somehow resembles the end of one part of their long immigration journey, but also opens the door to a whole new chapter of their lives. They become part of their community that they have been living in and contributing in; they can vote,” Ahoo Salem, Executive Director of Blue Ridge Literacy, said.

The ceremony also celebrated World Refugee Day, which takes place Sunday, June 20, by giving refugee families a chance to help finish painting a mural.

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