Joel Guzman-Martinez, right, takes the Oath of Allegiance with others during a Naturalization Ceremony in the Manor House at Wildwood Preserve Metropark.
Twenty-two people were sworn in as new citizens during a naturalization ceremony today at Wildwood Preserve Metropark’s Manor House in Sylvania Township.
U.S. bankruptcy Judge Mary Ann Whipple, Northern District of Ohio, who presided over the event, encouraged the new citizens to exercise their new rights, such as the right to vote.
She pointed out that during the most recent presidential election, two-thirds of all registered voters in Ohio voted. But in general elections, the percentage of people who vote is in the teens or low 20 percent.
To emphasize her point, Judge Whipple asked the audience how many of them knew there was a local election on Tuesday. Less than one dozen people out of more than 120 people raised their hands.
“Many Americans take their rights for granted,” Judge Whipple said. “I think it’s because some people haven’t had to work as hard as our new citizens for their rights and liberties.”
New citizen Arati Bipin Patel, of India, said she worked very hard to become a citizen and vowed never to take that citizenship for granted.
“This is like the mightiest feeling in the world in my life,” the 43-year-old Lima, Ohio resident said. “I feel proud to be an American.”