New citizens greeted by Whitmer, Benson

    Naturalization ceremony in Detroit, Nov. 8, 2019 | Ken Coleman

    Twenty-five men and women became naturalized citizens of the United States on Friday during a mid-morning ceremony at Cadillac Place, a state government office in Detroit.

    Their countries of origin included Yemen, Ukraine, Iraq, Mexico, Thailand and Lebanon.  

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, June 3, 2019 | Derek Robertson

    “Michigan’s greatest strength is and always has been our people who come to Michigan from all over the globe for opportunity, a place to be respected and protected under the law,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said during the 20-minute ceremony. “The place where you can make a living and raise a family and try and retire with dignity and prosperity.”

    The administration of the oath of allegiance was delivered by Judge Denise Page Hood, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District. She reminded the audience that people from around the globe seek the freedom and liberty that America represents. 

    “You have rights and responsibilities and you now have the power to help us write the next chapter of Michigan story,” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson told the group.  

    Gov., local communities celebrate ‘Welcoming Week’ for immigrants

    After the ceremony, Whitmer told reporters that she wanted to send the message that Michigan is a “welcoming place.”

    “This naturalization ceremony I think is a poignant reminder for all of us that being an American is a privilege,” Whitmer told. “It is a right; it comes with responsibilities and every opportunity I get to use my platform to make sure people know Michigan is a welcoming place, I’m going to use it. There are 12 nations represented in this naturalization class today, and I just think the greatest thing about our state are the people who call it home.” 

    Ken Coleman
    Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.