‘Participation by citizens is key to good government’

25 new citizens were naturalized on Thursday. (PNC photo)

The District Court of Guam on Thursday held a naturalization ceremony, welcoming 25 new and official US citizens.

Speaker of the 36th Guam Legislature, Therese Terlaje, was the keynote speaker at the ceremony. Terlaje said what makes this naturalization ceremony unique is that this month is commemorated as Women’s History and CHamoru Heritage and this is  intergrated with residents getting their U.S. citizenships.

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“Based on my own experiences, as a woman, as a CHamoru, and as a U.S. citizen, I’ve learned that over the years that if we want a very good government, it takes work, it’s not an automatic thing. Just because you swear in, that doesn’t mean everything is in place, just because the constitution is there. You have to be diligent, you got to keep an eye on the government, you’ve got to be able and willing to work to participate. I think participation by citizens is very key to a good government,” Terlaje said.

In her speech, Speaker Terlaje reminded the new citizens that although being a U.S. citizen comes with the hopes and dreams of fairness and equality, it’s not always guaranteed.

“You’ve seen over the years, in the United States, not all people get to vote despite the constitution. They excluded blacks and women and it took amendments in the constitution to ensure they could vote and so that’s what I mean about being diligent with your government. Your government is not perfect. We have to make it better and better every day with our handwork, our voices, and you know … whatever it takes,” Terlaje said.

She added that this ceremony gives her hope. With people becoming new citizens, good things can happen in the government for them and they will have good prosperity living on Guam and the United States.

This month, the ceremony acknowledged new citizens originally from Japan, Palau, Taiwan, China, and the Philippines.