On Sept. 3, the New Americans Campaign and New America Media hosted an ethnic media roundtable in Los Angeles to discuss naturalization for the county’s nearly 800,000 citizenship-eligible lawful permanent residents (LPRs).
The roundtable took place as local campaign partners plan citizenship workshops in celebration of Citizenship Day on Sept. 17. Organizations across Los Angeles are hosting free multilingual workshops all month long to help local LPRs take the first step to become U.S. citizens and local ethnic media play an integral role in sharing information about these events.
Representatives from local campaign partners NALEO Educational Fund and Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles and Linda Lopez, Chief, Office of Immigrant Affairs, LA Mayor’s Office, spoke at the roundtable.
Over 50 people and 18 media attended the roundtable to discuss the role of ethnic media in amplifying the importance of citizenship and to hear personal stories from three newly naturalized citizens, including Manok Cha from Korea.
For Manok Cha, the decision to naturalize came down to her family. Cha, who was born in 1937 in the northern part of Korea and moved to Seoul with her parents as a child, said she became a citizen so she wouldn’t have to face what her parents did – being separated from their own families who remained in North Korea.
“My father and mother weren’t able to see their parents and siblings again,” Cha said. “At a young age, I learned the pain of family separation.”
Now Cha, who became a U.S. citizen in 2012, has petitioned for her own kids to join her in the United States.
For more on the roundtable and stories from other newly naturalized citizens, see coverage on New America Media.