Welcoming New U.S. Citizens
In November of 2015, as Emily Griffith Technical College approached 100 years of serving people from all nationalities, nearly 100 men and women representing 44 countries across the world convened at Colorado’s historic institution to take the Oath of Allegiance to become American citizens.
This event highlighted Emily Griffith Technical College’s reputation as an educational opportunity for all individuals regardless of where they come from. At a time when many are calling to close our borders and resist integration, EGTC helped spread the message of the importance in being a welcoming community and nation. It is important to bring together the people who believe in integration and education so we will have the motivation and energy to inform and collaborate for a stronger, more diversified community.
The entire ceremony can be viewed below. The pre-show was hosted by EDUCA's Salvador Carrera and Julieta Quinonez and includes interviews of Mayor Michael B. Hancock, immigration attorney Hans Meyer, EGTC student and Univision news anchor Vanessa Bernal and EGTC executive director Jeff Barratt.
This momentous event was Colorado's largest citizenship naturalization ceremony of the year. The ceremony took place on the 14th floor of the Emily Griffith Campus overlooking downtown Denver. The oath was administered by the Honorable John W. Madden.
At the heart of this citizenship ceremony were nearly 100 individuals from ages 18 to 83. These newest Americans have made Colorado their home and were eager and proud) to take the oath to become new Americans. ns have made Colorado their home and were ready to take the oath to become new Americans.
Citizenship ceremonies are full of pride and emotion and remind us of what makes the United States of America a welcoming place. The naturalization ceremony drew the attention of key leaders and Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock was the keynote speaker. Representatives from Senator Michael Bennett's, Representative Mike Coffman’s and Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ offices spoke at the event.
These new citizens originally came from Afghanistan, Armenia, Belarus, Bhutan, Burma, Canada, People’s Republic of China, Colombia, Cote D’Ivoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.
On this day, Univision news anchor Vanessa Bernal took the Oath of Allegiance to become a U.S. Bernal gave an emotional speech to the crowd recognizing the long journey she had taken to reach this momentous occasion.
“Emily Griffith Technical College is a fitting location for such a large naturalization ceremony” said executive director Jeff Barratt. “Since its inception in 1916, the school has always opened its doors to immigrants. EGTC was founded as a place for all who wish to learn and because of our emphasis on accessible education, we continue to attract individuals of all backgrounds and nationalities. We are tremendously proud to host this significant event.”
EGTC’s student population is one of the most diverse in the country with 94 countries and 72 languages represented. Last year, more than 2,500 immigrants and refugees enrolled in classes at Emily Griffith. EGTC maintains Colorado’s largest English language school and is the State’s official provider of English classes for refugees.
The school also offers the Pathways to Citizenship program which includes classes in civics, U.S. education, employment, economics, health and history. Many of these students arrive in Denver looking for better opportunities, which they find at EGTC. For these individuals, it makes sense to take the next big step of becoming a U.S. citizen at the Emily Griffith Campus.
Denver Public Schools students viewed the event on computers in classrooms on Denver Comcast Channel 22 and via LiveStream. Many DPS social studies classes were encouraged to use the occasion to generate discussion about United States immigration and citizenship policies and processes.