Reflections on Citizenship

Devon Hernandez

Hello,  my name is Devon Hernandez.  As a relatively new member of the Junior Fellows, I was able to assist with this year’s Citizenship Preparatory Class, a free, five-week course that helps local immigrants prepare for the Naturalization Exam.

There are many of us that take our citizenship for granted.  I was born in the United States and as far as I knew, before the course, I had one important responsibility and luxury, that of voting.  I never truly took into account the duties of citizenship.

The requirements for citizenship are simple enough for any average Joe to be eligible, but it proves to be the simplest part.  For an immigrant, the application itself can be daunting.  Furthermore, becoming a citizen is costly.  The current price is more than six hundred dollars. Then, there is the test.  There is information in that test I hadn’t seen since junior high school.  For some, the language presents an additional barrier.

Nonetheless, it is amazing to see how many immigrants there were that signed up for the process!  What’s interesting to me was the realization of what citizenship meant for these immigrants.

The citizenship course was a gratifying experience, and I am already looking forward to repeating next year.  I enjoying making friendships with the participants, and coming from a minority background myself, I found the experience to be like going home.

I have lots of ideas for next year’s class, and I am looking forward to an additional chance to teach and learn!



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