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Thank you, America, for welcoming me to your land.

Kathleen Kenna (Hadi Dadashian photo)

Me, with flag from citizenship ceremony. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

Thank you for inviting me to be part of all this.

Thank you for the opportunity to cast my first ballot here, in an historic election.

I was inspired to become a citizen because of President Barack Obama.

I believed he stood for people like me — immigrants, women, people with disabilities, people who are un/under-employed, newcomers who are hopeful.

We work hard for this country that welcomed us.

But our voices are not always heard above the cynics.

It sometimes seems big-money and special interests, who would curb our civil rights, and use their power to crush our attempts at achieving equality, shout louder.

Thank you to Americans for proving the cynics wrong.

Hope is sometimes only a whisper, but we, the people, shout it to the world.

More gratitude:

“An immigrant gives thanks for becoming an American citizen”

Why I became an American citizen — it’s all about love