People from 24 different countries — including Ghana, India and Ukraine — officially became U.S. citizens at the Gathering Place in Tulsa. All 77 of the participants were children and young people.
“I want to welcome all you of to what is basically the best day of the whole year in Tulsa, Oklahoma,” Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum addressed the crowd earlier Thursday. “You are reminding us that the U.S. is a beacon of freedom for people from all around the world, and it still remains that.”
The Sistema Tulsa Community Youth Orchestra provided music as participants recited the “Oath of Allegiance.” Once the oath was recited, all participants received their official certificates of U.S. citizenship.
One mother of a 10-year-old participant from the Philippines told FOX23 she couldn’t be happier for her child.
“Of course he will have a brighter future ahead of him and will have all the opportunities he can have,” she said.
Andreiv Capili, 10, said his favorite thing about being an Oklahoman is the food.
“Burgers and bacons and scrambled eggs,” he said.
For Vikorya Tyzhay, from Liviv, Ukraine, it’s all about the people.
“The people here. I have a lot of friends,” she said.
Tyzhay, 14, also said she appreciates what citizenship means.
“I would always get like, ‘you cannot vote,’ and things like that,” she said. “So I am glad I can do those kind of things and be known as part of here and be able to fit in.”
She said she still has family back in Ukraine, and they had to take shelter once Russian forces invaded earlier this year.
Because of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, most of the children who have become citizens received the status because their parents also became citizens.
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