MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58)– Twenty students at the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) were celebrated Monday morning for becoming American citizens.
“Becoming a citizen is a big deal, but I also want to thank you for everything you’ve done; even though you’ve become a citizen today, you’ve been here, you’ve been contributing to our economic development, you’ve been a part of the workforce,” said Milwaukee Common Council President, Ald. Jose Perez.
“I want to show my kids, if you take one step you can take more steps,” said Guadarrama.
It’s taken her 12 years since she moved to Wisconsin from Mexico to take that leap and turn her residency into citizenship.
Ald. Perez also told CBS 58 News he, too, understands what it’s like for families to seek a better life.
“My grandparents arrived here never attending school… and I think that’s a true testimony of valor to come to a country where you know no one, don’t know the language, yet they came here and got jobs and raised our family,” he said.
With tears streaming down Guadarrama’s face, she said one month of focused studying was worth it–to finally feel free and have a voice that will be heard.
“When I say, ‘if one door is closed, other doors open for you’ is because I have one experience and maybe three years ago somebody closed one door for me, and now, I want to say: ‘thank you,’ for closing that door for me because so many doors open(ed), better, better for me,” Guadarrama said.
After the ceremony, various resources were offered to MATC students including voter registration and scholarship opportunities.