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The Durkan Digest: This is What America Looks Like

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This Fourth of July, I was moved and honored to attend a naturalization ceremony at Seattle Center, and to welcome 500 new American citizens. Each and every person at that ceremony endured an incredible journey to get there, and it reminded me of America’s truest purpose: to welcome all who want to call our great country home.  

Picture of large crowd of people attending the naturalization ceremony

As I stood on that stage, looking out at 500 excited new American citizens from 80 countries, I thought: This is what America looks like. Our new citizens make our country better and stronger. We live the American promise because of our diversity.

Photo of Mayor Durkan speaking to the crowd at the naturalization ceremony

Part of the responsibility of citizenship is working every day to advance and achieve the vision and promise of America. We can be a more just and inclusive America if we make sure that we open our doors to people regardless of where they’re from, regardless of the faith they practice, their race, their gender, their sexuality, their economic background. The doors are open to those who will become American citizens, and with that comes the obligation: you now will make America a better place.

Every one of our 500 new American citizens believes in the promise of America, and they show us that the promise is real.

The ceremony also got me thinking about my own family’s American dream. My grandfather left Ireland and his family at the age of 16. (Anyone who knows Irish people knows that no Irish boy would leave his mother unless he had to.) He ended up here in America, where he kept working and working. He ran for the State House of Representatives – and actually won. He had sons and daughters who did great things, and eventually a granddaughter who worked for President Barack Obama, and now has the privilege of serving as Mayor of Seattle.

That’s the American dream. That’s the American way. And it is my duty, and the duty of every single one of us, to keep fighting to ensure that dream is available to all.

As always, please continue to write me at, reach out via Twitter and Facebook, and stay up-to-date on the work we’re doing for the people of Seattle on my blog

I hope you had a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan's Signature

This blog post is an excerpt from Mayor Jenny Durkan’s weekly newsletter. If would like more content like this, and a weekly recap of the exciting things happening in the City of Seattle, you can subscribe here.