Stockbridge, MA, August 26, 2013— For the second year Norman Rockwell Museum is partnering with the Berkshire Immigrant Center to host a naturalization ceremony, to be held in the Museum’s galleries on Saturday, September 7, starting at 10 a.m. Berkshire County residents who immigrated to the United States from around the world will be sworn-in as new naturalized United States citizens during a special ceremony to be held against the backdrop of Norman Rockwell’s iconic “Four Freedoms” paintings.
The Museum and Immigrant Center held the first-ever naturalization ceremony at the Museum on September 8, 2012. Twenty-three residents became citizens during the event, which was presided over by Berkshire District Court Judge Fredric Rutberg, a resident of Stockbridge, who was also sworn in at Norman Rockwell Museum back in 1994. Norman Rockwell Museum Director Laurie Norton Moffatt, Massachusetts State Governor Deval Patrick, and other dignitaries also took part in the ceremony.
“Becoming a citizen is a major step for immigrants and refugees towards full integration into American life and living the American Dream, central to what our country stands for,” said Governor Patrick.
“One of the most rewarding moments of all my years with the Museum occurred during last year’s ceremony,” notes Norman Rockwell Museum Director/CEO Laurie Norton Moffatt. “It was truly an international day reflective of the diversity of America. Norman Rockwell celebrated all the world’s cultures and peoples, and I hope our new citizens will always feel at home and hold a special memory of this ceremony at Norman Rockwell Museum.”
Judge Rutberg will return to officiate this year’s ceremony. In addition to a flag presentation from the Dalton American Legion Post 155 Color Guard, Berkshire Immigrant Center’s Brooke Mead will also be on hand to sing patriotic songs; the Daughters of the American Revolution will also be present to register voters and provide American flag pins.
Other members of the Berkshire community providing support for the event include Berkshire Bank, Berkshire Community College, and Lee Bank; Blue Q, Classical Tents and Party Goods, Daughters of the American Revolution, Marketplace Catering, Old Inn at The Southfield Store, Monterey General Store, Barrington Bagels, SoMa Catering, and Katherine Lockeridge are also assisting with the welcoming reception for the new citizens and their families.
In general, to obtain U.S. citizenship, one must hold legal permanent resident (green card) status for a minimum of five years (three years if married this whole time to a U.S. citizen), take an exam on U.S. history and civics, demonstrate proficiency in the English language, and be of “good moral character” among other requirements. The Berkshire Immigrant Center offers assistance with every aspect of the naturalization process including screening for eligibility, application support, disability and fee waivers, legal assistance, transportation, advocacy with USCIS, and English language, history and civics classes. For more information about the Center, please call 413.445.4881 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.