Studying for Citizenship   4 comments

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My grandmother came to the United States with her mother, two older sisters and younger brother when she was a young teen. I don’t know much about what her life was like when she arrived. I do know she was particularly proud when she became an U.S. citizen.

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I always thought she obtained her citizenship soon after her arrival. It turns out it was much later: when my mother was in high school. My mom said she drove her mother to the night classes. Other times during the week the two would study; each doing her homework as a means of reaching something better. My mom went on to be the first in her family to not only earn a bachelor’s degree, but also a master’s and doctorate. Her mom studied for the opportunity to enjoy the rights associated with being a citizen of the United States.

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For many years my grandmother believed she was already a citizen because of her residency and marriage to my Grandfather. That proved not to be the case. Apparently, some things never change. One of our daughters-in-law is from Mexico. After marrying my son the process of her obtaining a resident visa was daunting, expensive and timely. She hasn’t even begun the journey toward citizenship. That’s another story.

Even though I wasn’t around when it happened, I do know becoming a citizen was something my Grandmother was extremely proud of. I remember her talking about it every election knowing she had a voice in democracy.

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I suspect, based on the book she used to study, she was more well versed in the U.S. Constitution than most people born in this country. She never took the right to vote lightly. I can only hope this is true of people in this, the 2020, election.

4 responses to “Studying for Citizenship

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  1. Thank you for sharing your family’s story, Robin. Such a good reminder of what is really important.

  2. Thank you for sharing Robin!!! Your words are not only powerful today but beautifully written and timely.

  3. Robin, I loved seeing this post! It shows such an important part of citizenship in our country! Maybe you should “write the book” with the story of your grandmother! As a teacher I found in Weekly Reader a list of questions a judge might ask someone as they became citizens. My students experienced what that might be like! We were all impressed by what the new citizens would have studied!

    I also particularly like your book reviews! Your non- review of “the Pull of the Stars”gave me permission to put that book away even though my book club was reading it!
    Thank you for all your reviews….I read them all!
    JudyGebben

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