5Days4Democracy: Citizenship

On September 18th, 2020, Semanur, Adult Reference Associate, shared exciting news with the Rocky River Public Library staff, “today I am a US citizen”. Semanur was immediately showered with congratulatory sentiments from the RRPL staff. We were all so very happy for her and her family.

I reached out to Semanur to see if she would like to share parts of her journey towards US citizenship. Below are a few questions I asked Semanur.

How does it feel to become a US citizen?

Semanur: I feel grounded and safe now that I am officially a citizen. I feel grateful that I am finally a part of this amazing community.

Can you share some of the requirements needed for citizenship?

Semanur: My family and I needed to be actively living in United States with our permanent residency for about 5 years before we could apply for citizenship. There was loads of paperwork to be done. After confirmation, we waited for our interview date to pass our oral, written, and reading exams. After passing, we received the date for our oath ceremony and pledged our loyalty to the United States and obtained our naturalization certificate. 

What are some advantages for you in becoming a US citizen?

Semanur: We can vote, and we can apply for an American passport which is necessary for people who travel a lot. Another advantage is it helps with job applications because some jobs require citizenship.

Thank you, Semanur, for giving me a glimpse into your journey towards citizenship and for your perseverance in becoming a United States citizen.

I discovered this statement on the website for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,

Citizenship is the common thread that connects all Americans. We are a nation bound not by race or religion, but by the shared values of freedom, liberty, and equality. 

Throughout our history, the United States has welcomed newcomers from all over the world. Immigrants have helped shape and define the country we know today. Their contributions help preserve our legacy as a land of freedom and opportunity. More than 200 years after our founding, naturalized citizens are still an important part of our democracy. By becoming a U.S. citizen, you too will have a voice in how our nation is governed.

Please consider participating in 5Days4Democracy by signing up here to receive Daily Challenges and learn how to strengthen your role in building our democracy!


Imagine Your Story @ RRPL

Lila and Lenu in Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend

I did it! I finished the Neopolitan Quartet, My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay and The Story of the Lost Child, by Elena Ferrante, and I already feel lost without “my” girls, Lila and Lenu, Ferrante’s main characters in this sweeping series of a lifelong friendship within the backdrop of a poor neighborhood of Naples, Italy.

I need to rely on some wonderful quotes from a review by Ella Alexander found at https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/culture/a25122947/elena-ferrante-neapolitan-novels-female-friendship/ to give an essential understanding of Lila and Lenu’s story. “We place a lot of emphasis on romantic love because of the narratives that we’re fed from such a young age. But the relationships and love we have for our female friends, especially during childhood, are equally as emotional and charged…But it’s not always rosy. There’s the jealousy, competitiveness and cruelty that people only dish out to those they love the most, and when we’re children, teenagers and even in our early twenties, we don’t understand yet how to rationalize those feelings or to temper them… It is a reminder that we never lose the love for someone who we were once so close to, and of how far someone can push another before deciding that a friendship brings more sadness than joy.”

I believe most readers will find a friendship, somewhere within their lifetime, that will cause reflection and raw emotion to surface, while reading about the journeys of Lila and Lenu. As a reader, as well as both the main characters, you come full circle and find some understanding and peace as to how we got here.

If you choose to go on this journey with Lila and Lenu, which I highly recommend, it will be lengthy, but take your time, absorb, digest, reread, if necessary. I also watched the HBO series while reading the books and found that each format, reading/watching, complimented each other very well, and ultimately enhanced the story for me.

While I will miss “my” girls”, I look forward to jumping into Ferrante’s new novel, The Lying Life of Adults, to be released September 1st, 2020.