Pierce County Citizenship Day Saturday

Ten organizations and government agencies have banded together to resurrect an important Pierce County tradition: the Sept. 17 Citizenship Celebration.

In Pierce County, “I Am An American Day” was last celebrated in 1948. This Saturday’s event is designed to revive this observance, celebrate new Americans in Pierce County, and inspire everyone to become better citizens.

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day are observed each year on Sept. 17 to commemorate the signing of the Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, and “recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens.” This commemoration had its origin in 1940, when Congress passed a joint resolution designating this day as “I Am An American Day.”

Until now, the people of Pierce County have travelled to Seattle for their citizenship ceremony.

Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson spearheaded the effort to bring the Sept. 17 Citizenship Celebration back to Pierce County. “Pierce County is proud of each and every immigrant and refugee who makes the tremendous effort to complete the naturalization process,” said Anderson. “We embrace these new citizens and voters and want to honor them right here in Pierce County.”

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Field Office Director Linda Dougherty said, “United by our devotion to the Constitution and to the civic engagement it inspires, Americans remain committed to the fundamental principles established over two hundred years ago.

More than 100 immigrants are expected to participate and become American citizens. Together with their family members and supporters, nearly 500 people are expected to attend.

The public is invited to attend the 11 a.m. ceremony at the Mount Tahoma High School Auditorium, 4634 S. 74th Street, in Tacoma. Pocket-sized books of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights will be given away with American flags. Workshops to explain the naturalization process are open to the public. Voter registration services will be available.

City of Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland will be the keynote speaker. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will conduct the ceremony.