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Celebrating Citizenship at Queens Library
Posted by Tabitha Laffernis
New Americans with their Queens Library citizenship certificates!
Citizenship Day and Constitution Day were celebrated on Sunday, September 17, and several Queens Library patrons accepted their own citizenship certificates after months – sometimes years – of hard work and making America their homes. The following day called for something a little less formal and a lot of fun: the Citizenship Celebration Ceremony at Flushing! Participants in the Library’s citizenship and ESOL classes gathered to celebrate the achievements of those who earned their citizenship the day before, complete with refreshments and a cake to mark the occasion.
Proceedings were kicked off by Tara Lannen-Stanton, Queens Library’s Director of Adult Learning, who welcomed several speakers to the podium, including Councilmember Peter Khoo and representatives from the New York State Office of New Americans, NYLAG, Turning Point Advocacy, Immigration Advocates Network, and the Catholic Migration Services.
Students and teachers enjoy the welcome reception
Also present were members of the Queens Library family: our President & CEO, Dennis M. Walcott, teacher Trudy-Ann Ewen, Literacy Specialist Mona Hassanein, and students (and recent citizens!) Shaffina Rahim and Jasmin Hu. Yang Zeng, the newly-appointed Director of Flushing Library, began speeches by discussing the diversity of Queens and her own experiences as an immigrant.
“I know how hard it is to struggle,” said student Shafina Raheem of her early days in the United States. “I didn’t have anything. I couldn’t catch the bus. This is the first time I’ve held a microphone!”
Jasmin Hu spoke of the welcoming environment she found at the Flushing Library. “The Flushing Library helped me build my new life in America. The managers encouraged me to go to workshops in customer service.”
Mona Hassanein agreed. Now a teacher and passing on the skills she learned in English and citizenship classes, her speech ended with an enthusiastic “I’m so proud to be part of Queens Library!”