About 20 immigrants became U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony at Schenley Plaza in Oakland on Monday.
Men and women from Brazil, Bhutan, Taiwan, Egypt and other countries took their Oath of Allegiance and were handed American flags and certificates from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. They also listened to speeches by the presidents of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.
City of Pittsburgh Special Initiatives Manager Betty Cruz was on hand to congratulate the new citizens. She said they decided to hold a handful of ceremonies outside after a suggestion from the public during Open Streets.
“The opportunity to bring it into an open space lets you really engage the public, and it’s probably the first time and the only time a lot of folks are even seeing a ceremony take place, so it’s really powerful.”
Cruz said they are partnering with different Pittsburgh organizations to hold these ceremonies publicly – Monday with Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and Tuesday with City of Asylum. She said the public celebration is a part of the Mayor’s Welcoming Pittsburgh Initiative, which aims to embrace the city’s international community, by connecting them to economic, housing, citizenship and educational resources.