Issued on April 3, 2018
15 Recent Immigrants to Take Oath of Allegiance As Americans in Special Court Session at State Capitol
Connecticut Immigrant Day Awards to be Presented to Distinguished Immigrants for Achievements in CT
Fifteen recent immigrants residing in Connecticut will take the oath of allegiance as American citizens on Wednesday, April 4 during a special court session to be held at the Connecticut State Capitol’s Old Judiciary Room at 2 p.m., followed by awards to be presented to leading state residents who immigrated to the United States and have made significant contributions to life in Connecticut.
United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Connecticut Donna F. Martinez will convene the court into session for the purposes of administering the oath. The new citizens will recite the Pledge of Allegiance and be presented with official certificates.
“Immigrants have always been – and continue to be – an abundant and enduring strength of our great nation,” said Robert Fishman, Executive Director of the Connecticut Immigrant & Refugee Coalition (CIRC), which is sponsoring the Connecticut Immigrant Day observance with the Office of Secretary of the State. “Connecticut is fortunate to have many remarkable individuals who have contributed tremendously to our state, and as we honor them we are also inspired by the newest group of proud and determined immigrants to take the oath of allegiance as Americans.”
Following remarks by Judge Martinez and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, CIRC will present its annual Connecticut Immigrant Day awards. Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman will also share brief remarks. The mission of CIRC, a coalition of about a dozen organizations across Connecticut, is to promote the rights and opportunities of immigrants and refugees in Connecticut and to foster their civic participation.
Immigrants Honored for Contributions to Connecticut
CIRC award recipients at this year’s 21st annual ceremony are residents of Avon, Trumbull, West Hartford, Farmington, Norwich, Monroe and East Hartford. They are:
- Ruth Lazowski, born in Belarus, is a Holocaust survivor who speaks with school groups.
- Cary Lakenbach, born in Italy, is the current Board Chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and an actuary.
- Bassam Gayed, born in Egypt, is Multicultural Services Coordinator at the Otis Library in Norwich.
- Irena Rak Dzierzbinski, born in Belgium, teaches French and Spanish in middle school in Darien and is active in Girl Scouts. She hosts a Polish-English radio program at Fairfield University.
- Naeem Khalid, born in Pakistan, started Sam’s Food stores and employs 1,000 in his businesses. He formed a charity, Sam’s Children, to assist needy children in Connecticut and is active with the Pakistan American Association of Connecticut.
- Bruce Tsan-Tang Liang, born in Taiwan, is the Dean of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.
- Vani Nidadavolu, born in India, operates an Indian Dance School and works part-time for Edward A. Jones. She holds an MA in Commerce and is a Philanthropist.
- Trinh K. Duong, born in Vietnam, came to Connecticut as a refugee and now works with new refugees and immigrants, helping them to resettle. She received her degree in Accounting from UConn.
In addition, Alicia Kinsman, Director and Managing Attorney of Immigration Legal Services at the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants will be receiving the Myra M. Oliver Memorial Award.The award is given to those who work above and beyond the call of duty to help refugees and immigrants, in memory of Myra M. Oliver’s lifetime of leadership and service.
Student Groups from Hartford, New London to be Honored
Two student groups will also be recognized as recipients of the Angela R. Andersen Memorial Award, created to honor students who demonstrate deep commitment to issues impacting refugees and immigrants. It is named after an individual known for her dedication and passion for helping refugees and immigrants in Connecticut.
Sixth-graders from the Interdistrict School for Arts and Communication in New London will be recognized for their project, “Community Faces-Humanizing the Immigrant Label.” The second group is Teens4Citizenship, a Hartford Public Library and Hartford Public Schools collaborative program. As "Citizenship Guides," these high school immigrant students support family and community members on the path to Citizenship and upon turning 18 pursue their own citizenship.
Opening remarks at the ceremony will be offered by Chris George, Executive Director of the Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS), and CIRC Board member. The National Anthem will be led by Chris Nelson, a native of Ghana and current Goodwin College student. The Governor’s Foot Guard will be presenting the colors.