Surprisingly, August 22, 2017 was a big deal for me. My husband became a US Citizen on this day.
Up until the moment I was in the Los Angeles Convention Center taking my seat alongside 10-15,000 other spectators, the auspiciousness of the moment had eluded me. As the woman at the podium announced that there were 5,092 there to be naturalized, I silently acknowledged that prior to the moment, I'd thought of it as merely a "change of status" for him since he's been here since 1989. When those 5,092 took their oath, I teared up listening to them proudly repeating it. When the judge choked up while welcoming them as fellow citizens and neighbors, there wasn't a dry eye in the house!
I don't think I'm alone when I share that this time in our history has felt so dark and pathetic, and yet I left that ceremony filled with a big sense of hope. All of these people were so excited about our country! People from 112 countries here to claim their piece of the American dream, filled with hope for the best of what this country is.
My husband consciously chose to become a US citizen at this time in our history to stand up and help make a difference. I met a gay Filipino man that day who said he'd decided to become a citizen after having a green card for 26 years for the same reason! He wanted to vote and to feel represented. I believe many people are like them--consciously choosing citizenship at this specific time to take a stand for the best America can be.
The top 5 countries represented at this ceremony were China, S. Korea, The Philippines, Vietnam and Mexico. There were 6 people being awarded their citizenship because they've been serving in the US Military--defending our country and our constitution--without first being citizens. This also deeply touched my heart.
America is multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-religious, and multi-identity. When we stand together, hope in hand, we weave a tapestry of possibility for all of us to thrive throughout our nation. The naturalization ceremony affirmed for me that this is not only what is real, but this is what makes our country so amazing!
I look forward to the day when our government represents and reflects our multi-dimensional truth fully.
We deserve it. All of us. I know we will not only be better for it, but it will make the United States great.
For all the right reasons.
Leanne Wood is a writer, world traveler, yoga music expert and bliss chaser. Her musings on life and lessons learned from years traversing the new age community can be found at www.BlissBubble.com.