Letter from the Executive Director, Refugee and Immigration Services

City Council Opens Doors for First-Ever Naturalization Ceremony

For the first time in Columbus’ history, City Council opened the doors of City Hall last week for a Naturalization Ceremony. Presided over by Chief Judge Edmund Sargus, 111 people from 35 nations became citizens Thursday afternoon.

Before the oath was administered, each new citizen was asked to state their names and their nation of origin. It was a moving series of introductions, which I would encourage you to watch here between the 17th and 27th minutes of the ceremony.

Sitting in the front row, conspicuously with his Captain America backpack and tie, was Daniel Reyes. Daniel is the MARVEL*US Coordinator for our members at Columbus Literacy Council, and the husband of Joy Reyes, the agency’s CEO. CLC helped several of the new citizensimprove their English before Thursday.

City Councilmember Emmanuel Remy spearheaded the effort, and allowed HSC to contribute some words of welcome alongside each City Councilmember, as well as City Auditor Megan Kilgore, and keynote speaker, City Attorney Zach Klein.

“The United States is a nation of immigrants and refugees, coming from all corners of the world to weave the story of America,” Remy said. “These new American citizens and their families will help us tell our story here in Columbus.”

As fate would have it, this historic ceremony fell just two days after our members at Community Refugee & Immigration Services hosted a press conference opposing the potential cessation of America’s Refugee Resettlement Program.

“I hope that compassion and pride in our country’s history with this proud program will prevail and that we’ll have elected officials in Washington who push back on this proposal and say – no, this is un-American,” CRIS’ Executive Director Angie Plummer said.

The press conference featured remarks from Plummer, as well as US Together‘s Executive Director, Nadia Kasvin. Catholic Social ServicesEthiopian Tewahedo Social Services, and Jewish Family Services were all there in solidarity; HSC was proud to be there, as well.

We are so very grateful to support a sector and a community which knows that though our roots may be different, we are better and stronger when our roots grow together.