On Wednesday, June 22, the ALMD hosted Montgomery’s first Citizenship Ceremony, with Senior District Judge Myron H. Thompson presiding. The event was unique in that it was a citizenship ceremony for children of people who have recently been naturalized. It was held in courtroom 2FMJ, the same courtroom where there were many victories for the Civil Rights Movement.

United States District Judge Myron Thompson told the crowd that they walked "through the same courtroom doors as Doctor Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and many others who made history. You're sitting in the same seats. Join them as citizens of America and make great contributions.

Judge Thompson has performed dozens of naturalization ceremonies over the years, but said that Wednesday's ceremony was special because of the ages of those taking the oath of citizenship.
"Because of who you are and the potential you have for this country in your youth, I think the meaning is doubled if not tripled," he said.

Shepherd Togarepi is a very proud father after his daughter, Rosemary, marked a major milestone, officially becoming a citizen of the United States. She was part of a group of young people who received their certificates of citizenship on Wednesday.

It meant a lot to the Togarepi family. They are natives of Zimbabwe and live in Mobile. Mr. Togarepi paved the way for his family to come to America and urges his children to make the most of the opportunities now available to them. He got his GED and his associates degree to become a mechanic and hopes Rosemary and her siblings will follow in his footsteps.

"I always try to challenge them to try to do better than what I've done," he said. "This is really special because she just graduated from high school and getting this opportunity to be an American citizen means she'll be able to get her passport and travel back home and to vote too, which is a good thing. This is just a dream coming true."

Source: Lindsey Rogers, WSFA