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August 2015 - Klein
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           WLALA Board Member Judge Sandra R. Klein               Presided over a Naturalization Ceremony 

By Sylvia Quach and Jack Zhou

Externs to Judge Klein


It was early morning on July 22, 2015, and 3,711 people gathered in the Los Angeles Convention Center to complete their journey to becoming United States citizens.  The Honorable Sandra R. Klein presided over a memorable Naturalization Ceremony during which she administered the oath and swore-in the new citizens.  As externs in Judge Klein’s chambers, we had the great fortune to witness the ceremony.  Based on our backgrounds, we had completely different experiences as we observed the proceedings.   

Sylvia Quach:  My parents immigrated to the US in the 1980s so it was amazing to witness the ceremony that was such a momentous occasion in their lives.  Watching the ceremony gave me a glimpse of the journey they went through to build the life that we have today. I was born and raised in the US, and like Judge Klein said about citizens who were born here, my citizenship was something I took for granted.  The naturalization ceremony was an eye-opening experience for me because I got to witness a life changing process.  It made me aware of how lucky I am to be a citizen of a nation where opportunities are endless.  Seeing thousands of people from all over the world come together and pledge allegiance to the United States is a breathtaking sight.  The United States of America has always been the melting pot of ethnicities and this ceremony reconfirms what we have always stood for.

Jack Zhou:  As I watched the long line of people holding the American flag strolling down the convention hall, there was a ping in my memory. I recalled the unspoken excitement that I experienced many years ago. Yes, I was one of them, one of the many who worked tirelessly and waited to stand in this very same hall.  When I stood on the stage with the Judge, it was as though I was reliving the moment of my own naturalization.  I have lived as an American for many years and I can testify to the unprecedented freedom and opportunities that lay ahead for each and every one of the new citizens.  Things may be tough at times, but I sincerely hope that the American spirit will be with them, reminding them of the past success and the even brighter future.    

While the naturalization ceremony means something different to everyone, there is no doubt that it impacts the lives of everyone in the country.  It represents the hope and freedom to choose that resides within every single citizen of the United States.  So with great pride, we would like to congratulate and welcome the newest members of our great nation.

P.S.  Fernando Valenzuela, the LA Dodgers’ former star pitcher, was one of the people who Judge Klein swore in as a new citizen on July 22, 2015.   The photograph of Judge Klein and Fernando Valenzuela was taken immediately before the Naturalization Ceremony began.