On September 1, 2016, I took the oath to become an American citizen. The last in my family to do so, the decision was a difficult one as it meant forgoing any allegiance to my home country of Ethiopia. But we live in extraordinary times when our voices as individuals matter the most. While I have always been politically informed, I knew I could no longer stay outside of the electoral process as the presidential election approached. I needed to vote for my values, for my ideals, for my fellow people of color, immigrants, women, and for so many disenfranchised groups in America.
With this determination and conviction, I cast my first vote as an American on November 8th. The outcome, while devastating, further fueled my desire and commitment to engage in my community. The reality is that I’m one of the lucky ones! A month after my naturalization ceremony, The New York Times reported that nearly a million legal immigrants applied for citizenship with the hopes of casting their first ballot in November. But a significant number weren’t able to achieve that dream of becoming a US citizen and casting their vote.
The Boston Women’s March for America offers a platform for all of us to come together and stand for what we believe in. Some of us had the privilege to vote in the election. Some of us couldn’t. And some of us chose not to participate. Irrespective of the decisions we have made, we all have a responsibility to shape the future of the country. This is why I am marching on January 21st.
I march because it is my duty. I march because I still believe in the American dream. I march because I am hopeful.
Yordanos holds a B.A. in Economics and Political Science, Honors, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Florida, where she was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. She has an M.P.P. in Business and Government Policy from Harvard Kennedy School and is the founder and curator of the soon-to-be launched Immigrants for America campaign, a story campaign to showcase the diversity and vibrancy of the immigrant community through individual stories. Yordanos is also a contributing writer at the Huffington Post and Bold.
Immigrant Rights Rally and Oath Taking
Fanueil Hall, 2005