Four hundred and fifty-four Utah Residents from 83 different countries became U.S. Citizens at Abravanel Hall today and for many, taking the Oath of Citizenship was a profound experience.
The candidates stood and raised their right hand as Julie Wierschem the Deputy Clerk of the U.S. District Court led the oath. The ceremony featured Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams as Guest Speaker. He asked the new citizens to exercise their voting rights and share ideas and cultural contributions with the community. He says their voices are important to him as a public servant.
"The reason that I like to come is I want to show them that their elected officials work for them. That’s part of what makes America a great place, that their political leaders are accessible to them and accountable to them," McAdams says.
Elizabeth Aka is originally from Ivory Coast, and her father and relatives from the Republic of Congo were there to support her. She says she will take advantage of the opportunity to vote, but she also looks forward to the travel freedom as a U.S. Citizen.
"I am excited to vote and also to be able to get a passport and go back home. I haven’t been in eight years, go and visit family," she says.
Family and friends congratulated recipients in the Abravanel Hall lobby after the ceremony.