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No tweets like home. Vignettes on the powerful pull of “home”

By Jack C. Doppelt | October 13th, 2012



Naturalization

Poe Clee’s naturalization ceremony, he and 140 others at federal building in Chicago

Poe Clee changes name, Karen refugee now Sweenersoe Thako. Name means perseverance overcomes power

Court takes everyone’s green card before they take oath.

Official tells everyone where to go for passports. Asks how many leaving soon. Many

By becoming citizens, they can finally travel…and visit home…with new names

Poe Clee is going to Thailand, which was his home for 24 yrs in refugee camps

Clee going for conference on negotiating with Burma, his original home. Lived there not long before family escaped to Thailand

Judge Gilbert accepts motion for group citizenship. Says most motions have winners and losers. Not this one, all win. US too

New Americans from 39 countries; not quite A-Z. Bangladesh to Zimbabwe.

Judge tells of immigrant grandma. Day she became a citizen, she phoned a friend: Know who you’re talking to? You’re talking to a US citizen.

The 140 stand, raise hand, take oath, renounce allegiance to other countries – other “potentates.”

But judge tells them, they don’t renounce allegiance to memories, traditions, customs. You bring them here. Makes us a richer place.

Judge says don’t take citizenship for granted-vote. It’s the final day for voter reg in IL. Poe Clee registers. Passport left for a new day.

[Read this recent story – Baptists Open Doors and Hearts to Refugees from Burma – published by the Associated Baptist Press News.]

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