New citizens take oath at QCC

File this under “Only in Queens.” Bayside to be exact.
Over 250 immigrants from more than nearly a hundred different countries were welcomed to the auditorium of a college headed by a Cuban immigrant, to take the oath of citizenship from the son of Irish immigrants, and receive their certificates from a Nigerian and a Haitian immigrant.
On Flag Day, Thursday, June 14 a Naturalization Ceremony was held in the Humanities Theater of Queensborough Community College (QCC) in Bayside. QCC President Eduardo J. Mart’, originally from Cuba, was unable to attend, so the crowd was welcomed by QCC Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Paul Jean-Pierre.
Advising the audience that this was “one moment you will never forget,” Jean-Pierre recalled a similar ceremony in San Antonio, Texas in 1979. As a Haitian immigrant who enlisted in the U.S. Army, he was naturalized just before getting shipped out to Korea.
The oath of allegiance, not to be confused with the pledge of allegiance, was administered by federal judge John Gleeson, who then encouraged the new citizens to register and vote, and to respond to jury questionnaires and participate in jury duty.
Gleeson explained that participation by new citizens was the best way to combat discrimination against their groups. He also related how prized his father’s certificate of naturalization was to him, and urged them to preserve theirs for their children.
At the close of his remarks, Gleeson riveted the attention of the audience when he intoned, “Now, by the power vested in me by the President of the United States, I order you to go forth and celebrate.”
The vast majority heeded his order when, after receiving their certificates from Jean-Pierre and Tunde Kashimawo, QCC Director of International Student Affairs, they immediately left the ceremony to enjoy their new status.
September 17, which is both Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, will mark the next swearing-in ceremony at QCC.

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