73 new US citizens in North Dakota: 'It's just made me feel like I'm actually part of something great'
FARGO—Many gathered in the Sanctuary Events Center Wednesday, June 20, to witness 73 individuals to complete their process in becoming a U.S. citizen through the naturalization ceremony.
North Dakota Supreme Court Justice Lisa Fair McEvers was the featured speaker while U.S. Magistrate Judge Alice Senechal presided over the ceremony for new citizens who came from across North Dakota.
Jordan Sambo is a immigrant from the Philippines and is serving in the U.S. Air Force and stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base, but says he's proud to now be a U.S. citizen.
"It's a really huge milestone. It's just made me feel like I'm actually part of something great. I'm not abandoning my heritage, but it's America. It's one of the greatest countries in the world, and it's just a huge honor to be a part of it," said Sambo.
He also says that while there is conflict when it comes to culture and race, an open mind and a willingness to understand differences is what America is truly about.
"America is a melting pot of different cultures. That's what made America so great. It's so diverse, it has different backgrounds, everyone came from a different walk of life," said Sambo.
"We have to be more open-minded, we have to be more sensitive. We don't have to be self-centered."
Fair McEvers and Senechal both preached equality and hard work as key components of American citizenship.
"I am proud to be an American and I believe America is the greatest country in the world. We must continue to strive to make America even greater. We must resolve to never repeat mistakes of the past. We must resolve to always speak out against hatred and bigotry. We are Americans and standing up for eachother is what Americans do. Not only when it's convenient, but especially when it's hard," said Fair McEvers
"Each of you has come to America for your own reasons, on your own unique journey. You have all put in the hard work required to become a citizen, however much work remains ahead of you. And that is the hard work of active citizenship. You have rights and you have responsibilities."
Senechal encouraged the new citizens to be involved in their communities.
"I know that each of us has a responsibility to make you feel welcome as citizens, but you also have responsibilities to help us learn to know you better," Senechal said. "I urge you to become involved in your communities and help people learn to know you as individuals. Help them get to know you came to this country with the same goals that those of us who have been here lifelong bring. Goals of stability, good place for family, good place for your employment."