Red, white, and Brooklyn! Locals become new citizens in Park Slope ceremony

The Brooklyn Paper
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We the people: New citizens were given a copy of the Declaration of Independence and a small American flag.
Land of the free: Children with the Piper Theatre kicked off the naturalization ceremony with the National Anthem.
New allegiance: Oriana Sanchez of Colombia takes the Oath of Allegiance with other new citizens.
Patriots: Noor Alzubaidy from Iraq gets emotional during the naturalization ceremony.
Stars and stripes: Marie Andre from Haiti sheds a tear as she celebrates her new US citizenship.
Warm welcome: Pablo Arraya, originally from Bolivia, shakes hands with Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke at the end of the ceremony.

They were the stars and stripes of the show!

Park Slope welcomed some of the United States’ newest citizens with a naturalization ceremony at historic Old Stone House on June 30, and one organizer said just witnessing the process made her feel lucky to be an American.

“We don’t often think of our rights and responsibilities as citizens, and the idea of becoming a citizen,” said Kim Maier, the executive director of the Old Stone House. “This was a great reminder of that privilege.”

Twenty immigrants from 17 different countries took part in the event, where they swore both the Pledge and Oath of Allegiance, led by Assemblywoman JoAnne Simon, and were granted their certificates of citizenship.

Kids from local thespian troupe Piper Theatre Productions performed “The Star Spangled Banner” and their families held a pot-luck feast for the new citizens, who hail from around Brooklyn and bucolic Staten Island. The young actors also used the opportunity to chat to the guests of honor about about their experiences as immigrants, collecting stories they will use to write new plays, which they will debut next month.

The family festivities gave the ceremony a real sense of community, says a government spokeswomen.

“It wasn’t just the citizens — it was the students and the people who work at the Old Stone House,” said Katie Tichacek, a press representative for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. “They gave it a very welcoming and genuine feel.”

The Old Stone House, which is located in Washington Park near the end of Fourth Street, is a reconstructed 17th-century Dutch farmhouse. The dwelling was the site of a notable skirmish during the Battle of Brooklyn — which was the first major conflict of the Revolutionary War — when around 2,000 British and auxiliary soldiers used the building as a stronghold, from which they fatally fired on hundreds of Maryland troops who were retreating to Brooklyn Heights. It was also the clubhouse of the Brooklyn Superbas, the precursor to the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at or by calling (718) 260–8312.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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