Seventy five foreign-born residents hungry for U.S. citizenship heard America being compared to a stew pot. The Honorable Judge John P. Gustafson, United States Judge, Northern District of Toledo, applied the metaphor at this afternoon’s naturalization ceremony, organized by the University of Findlay and held at Winebrenner Theological Seminary. There may be rice, vegetables, meat and other ingredients in the pot, but they remain what they are, he explained.
“It’s a combination of wonderful flavors that all retain their identities… and they are all better when together,” Gustafson said.
A total of 50 became U.S. Citizens at the ceremony, which was attended by many family and friends, along with community members. The new citizens come from 41 countries ranging from Albania to Kenya to Cote D’Ivoire, and represented the largest naturalized group that UF has welcomed over the years.
UF’s Flickr album containing several ceremony photos can be found here.
Gustafson also pointed out, however, that the United States does resemble a proverbial melting pot in that its citizens share commonalities of equity under the law, voting rights, religious freedom and other rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.
Gustafson described the new citizens’ “journey” forward as one that is largely unknown, but exciting because of opportunities that abound. “I hope you make the most of it by being good citizens, neighbors, family members and people.”
“I feel blessed to live in this place… and with you it will be made even better. Congratulations,” said Gustafson.
Mark Lopez, a Senior at Liberty-Benton High School who became a citizen today, also expressed gratitude. He recalled that while a child in his native Mexico, he used to give money to his classmates so they could have food for lunch, and often observed the pots and pans throughout his school that caught rainwater from leaks in the roof. “My life is no longer the same as it used to be,” he said.