Norman Rockwell Museum To Host Additional United States Citizenship Ceremony on September 20
Stockbridge, MA, September 5, 2019 — Norman Rockwell Museum will partner with the Berkshire Immigrant Center, Berkshire Community College Adult Learning Program, and the Literacy Network of South Berkshire for the second time this year to host the annual United States Citizenship Naturalization Ceremony on Friday, September 20, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Now in its eighth year at the Museum, the ceremony celebrates residents of Western Massachusetts who have immigrated to the United States from around the world.
This year, due to increased interest and need, the Museum and the Berkshire Immigrant Center will host the second ceremony on September 20 to welcome the next group of new U.S. citizens.
The special event will give members of the community the opportunity to welcome 12 fellow residents from 9 different countries as they are sworn-in as new naturalized citizens of our country.
The ceremony will again be presided over by the Honorable Joan M. McMenemy, with remarks from Laurie Norton Moffatt, Director/CEO of Norman Rockwell Museum and Michelle Lopez, Executive Director of the Berkshire Immigrant Center. Susan Borek, Education Coordinator of the Literacy Network of South Berkshire and Ana Suffish, Director of the Berkshire Community College Adult Learning Program will represent their organizations. Color guard will be provided by the Williamstown American Legion Post 152, with singer Lina Orozco Grillon and pianist Karen Tchougourian performing music during the event.
Priority seating is given to new citizens and their families; Museum visitors are welcome to observe the ceremony based on space availability. Light refreshments will be offered to new citizens and their families on the Museum terrace.
The ceremony and reception are presented with the generous support of several community businesses. Norman Rockwell Museum receives generous support from Berkshire Bank Foundation; The Berkshire Immigrant Center is supported by TOURISTS, Lee Bank and Dr. Natalya Yantovsky, DMD, Pittsfield Dental Center; The Literacy Network of South Berkshire is supported by The Matthew and Hannah Keator Family Foundation, and received a generous donation from The Bookloft. Donated goods and services have been provided by several community businesses. Support for the event and the efforts of the partner organizations is encouraged, and can be arranged by contacting the Museum at 413.931-2206.
“The Naturalization Ceremony is always one of my favorite days at Norman Rockwell Museum,” said Laurie Norton Moffatt, Norman Rockwell Museum Director/CEO. “It is an honor to welcome our newest citizens to this country, and to celebrate the ideals on which our country was founded.”
As Norman Rockwell Museum’s Four Freedoms exhibition continues its tour across the U.S. and abroad, the naturalization ceremony serves as a timely and important reminder of the themes expressed in Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1941 speech and illustrated in Rockwell’s iconic paintings. Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt and the Four Freedomsis at the Caen Memorial Museum, in Normandy, France through October 27, commemorating the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. It will next travel to Texas, opening at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston in December.
Norman Rockwell Museum continues exploring the immigrant experience with Finding Home: Four Artists Journeys, a new exhibition opening November 10. The exhibition documents the complex emotional realities of adapting to a new life thousands of miles away from where their stories began, through compelling visual memoirs inspired by the personal journeys of four master illustrators, Frances Jetter, David Macaulay, James McMullan, and Yuyi Morales.
Berkshire County immigrants are supported on their journey toward citizenship by the Berkshire Immigrant Center, the Literacy Network of South Berkshire, and the Berkshire Community College Adult Learning Program. The Berkshire Immigrant Center guides immigrants through the entire application process, helping them to navigate complex legal and administrative procedures. Michelle Lopez, Executive Director of BIC explains, “We are honored to be a part of our clients’ journeys to citizenship. Our greatest reward is sharing in this celebration with them. All of us at the Berkshire Immigrant Center look forward to welcoming our new U.S. citizens on September 20th!”
The Adult Learning Program supports immigrants in their study of the English language, and the Literacy Network provides one-on-one tutoring to help immigrants study for the naturalization exam. “With support from the new Keator Family Scholarship, we are delighted to help make the naturalization process easier for new Americans,” noted former Literacy Network Executive Director Jennifer Vrabel. “We offer our heartfelt congratulations to the new citizens and their families, whose sheer dedication and hard work has helped them to earn their citizenship.”
BCC President Ellen Kennedy added: “The BCC Adult Learning Program helps our students obtain the skills they need to succeed in their educational or employment goals. We are delighted and proud to be with our students as they become citizens in this naturalization ceremony at the Norman Rockwell Museum.”
About Berkshire Immigrant Center
Each year the Berkshire Immigrant Center assists between 700 and 800 local residents in their pursuit of U.S. citizenship. 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.