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58 Women Become Citizens In Special Naturalization Ceremony

Roberto Roldan
WUSF Public Media
More than 50 women from 25 countries became citizens at an all-women naturalization ceremony on Friday.

After more than a year of waiting, Fabiana Dragonetti finally became a U.S. Citizen on Friday.

Dragonetti, who immigrated from Brazil, took her Oath of Allegiance in Riverview alongside 57 other women from more than 25 countries. 

She was inspired by the women around her at an all-women naturalization ceremony and thought it was reflective of the possibilities she hoped to find in her new home. 

"America offers everything for everyone who want to come here and do the right things," Dragonetti said. "It's opportunity for everyone it doesn't matter if you're a woman or man."

The ceremony was held in honor of March being Women's History Month. It is the third year the Western Michigan University Cooley School of Law has hosted the event at it's Riverview campus.

Campus director Dionnie Wynter Pfunde, campus director at the school, said she thought the current political climate gave the event more impact this year.

"With the harassment and women finding their voices, this year has made it this new energy," she said.

Winter Pfunde is an immigrant herself, coming to the U.S. from Jamaica in 1996. She said she hoped the ceremony offered an alternative message to what she sees as an unwelcoming environment for immigrants.

"I remember in my first five, ten years in the is country it was hard for me to have a conversation like this, because of my accent and because I wasn't sure I was saying what you wanted me to say," she said. "Now I want them to know they have a voice."

The ceremony was part of the local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Office's effort to highlight women's role in pushing for progress during the month of March.

Roberto Roldan is a senior at the University of South Florida pursuing a degree in mass communications and a minor in international studies.
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