Oakridge Resident Becomes US Citizen
During a time of heightened anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies, more than 14,000 immigrants across the country became America’s newest citizens. One of the 14,000 immigrants is 18 year old, Cicilia Awa, an Oakridge Neighborhood resident.
Awa came to the states in 2006 with her family, just a year after the Second Sudanese Civil War had ended, at the age of six. Little did she know that would be the last time she would see her grandmother and other extended family members for 12 years.
Like most refugees and immigrants, Awa and her family came to the United States hoping for a better life and more opportunities. While living in the US, Awa and her family are living a better life and do indeed have more opportunities; however, the opportunities were limited due to the fact she was not a US citizen. This is why it was important for Awa and her family to get their US citizenship.
On August 16th, 2018 Awa had her Citizenship ceremony surrounded by family and close friends.
“I’m so proud of her,” said Awa’s mother, Ms. Nyibol Dhol, “I’m so happy for her, she deserves it.”
Being a legal citizen brings Awa freedom. Freedom to vote, freedom to voice her opinions, and freedom to travel. Freedom to travel is something most take for granted. Awa hasn’t seen her grandmother and other extended family members in 12 years.
“The first thing I’m going to do is visit my grandmother,” said Awa cheerfully. “I finally have this freedom, so I’m going to use it! I realize it’s hard, but as long as you study and put all your mind into it, you can pass the citizenship test.”
Now at the age of 18, Awa is a high school graduate, currently enrolled at DMACC, has a job as a CNA at Broadlawns, and is now a U.S. Citizen. After some well deserved traveling, Awa plans to finish her two years at DMACC and continue her studies at the University of Iowa to receive her BSN in Nursing.
Oakridge is proud to have helped Ms. Awa through her journey here in the states and is proud of all the things she is set out to do!