On February 2, 2017, former HSPRD attorney, Judge Mary Rowland was enthusiastically applauded at a swearing-in ceremony she conducted for new citizens in Chicago. According to the Chicago Tribune, Rowland had begun the ceremony by congratulating the immigrants for their endurance. “I’m not sure I would have the stamina or the patience or the courage to go through what you went through to get here today,” she said. In front of the judge sat 120 new Americans, from over 30 different countries, accompanied by dozens of parents, children, spouses, brothers and sisters who had come to watch their loved ones take the oath of allegiance.
At the end of the ceremony, Judge Rowland shared these heartfelt words to the applause of the crowd: “I’m guessing you were drawn toward America because it is the beacon of hope and freedom in the world. It always will be. I am so proud of that and I am so proud of you. We are a country that celebrates diversity and builds bridges between cultures. That’s what makes us the United States of America. We are a country that welcomes people from all over the world, including many fleeing persecution. We were founded by people escaping religious persecution so we enshrine in our Constitution that we will never favor one religion over another.”
See the full Chicago Tribune article by Mary Schmich.