Volunteer Perspective

Our new Fellow, Genesis Lazo, attended Anna’s citizenship ceremony (see story above). Here is what she had to say:

Attending a naturalization ceremony is such a privilege. It is both a leap for joy and a sigh of relief all at once. I can remember studying with my dad for his citizenship test and the joy that it brought my family when the process was over and he could finally become an American citizen. Due to my personal relationship with the citizenship process, I felt really happy to be able to attend Anna’s ceremony and support her on behalf of Just Neighbors. There were a few moments that I found to be especially memorable at this ceremony. For one, the calling of the countries from which the new citizens came from was awesome to see.  The 101 people naturalizing came from South Korea, Egypt, Germany, and Sierra Leone to name a few. The calling of countries seemed symbolic of how pride in one’s country of birth shall not be lost by becoming an American. I also thoroughly enjoyed the speech by the Honorable Judge T.S. Ellis III in that he focused on all the good that citizens born outside the US contribute to our country.  He mentioned examples of such citizens like Carnegie and Einstein. But what was even better wass when he said he’d congratulate everyone in his mother tongue and began by saying ‘Felicidades!’.  Everyone chuckled because based on his last name and appearance no one would have ever guessed that Judge Ellis was born in Colombia.  Overall, it was a lovely experience and I am so happy for Anna and her family!

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The mission of Just Neighbors is to provide immigration legal services to low-income immigrants and refugees in Virginia, especially those who are most vulnerable. We also seek to foster enriching experiences that enhance awareness and mutual understanding among our clients, volunteers, staff and community.

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