On Wednesday, September 18th, the International Rescue Committee in Charlottesville hosted a successful Citizenship Fair in partnership with the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library.
Attendees were given the opportunity learn more about how to become a naturalized US citizen, what resources are available to those wanting to attain citizenship, how to prepare for the citizenship test, and who is available to assist with the application process.
Gloria Williams-Brevard, Community Relations Officer for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, briefly addressed those in attendance, encouraging them to “inform [themselves]” both about what it takes to become a U.S. Citizen and about their rights as applicants. Her advice to the attendees was to be as prepared an applicant as possible in order to be the best applicant they can be.
Beyan Johnson, a newly naturalized citizen from Liberia, also shared some words of advice. Having received assistance from IRC’s Immigration Services throughout his application process, Beyan enthusiastically told of the abundance of resources the IRC provided and referred him to. He shared his methods of studying for the citizenship test: listening to an audio guide on his way to and from work and keeping flashcards on his person to study during downtime. Beyan reiterated that becoming a citizen is a choice, not an obligation, but to become a citizen means to have a voice. He ended his presentation with a simple, meaningful statement: “I want you to be like me. Be a citizen.”
The IRC in Charlottesville would like to thank the following organizations for their participation in the Citizenship Fair: Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, Thomas Jefferson Adult and Career Education, Literacy Volunteers of Charlottesville/Albemarle, Albemarle County Adult Education, Legal Aid Justice Center, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service.