There currently seems to be global focus on people’s differences more than our similarities. This divisive attitude separates and alienates us from each other, particularly in the United States, where we are a nation composed of people from many places. Part of my job is to look at what we have in common, and to bring people together to build personal relationships and find common ground. In three blog posts, I will tell you about how I bring diverse people together, and how library programs show value and respect for people’s differences while building a spirit of community. I hope you’ll join us--and read between the lines to see the important role we play in making a "community".
You probably can name the “Father of our Country” and likely know which states border Mexico, but you may not be able to correctly answer as many other questions on the US Citizenship Test as you think…. Try these questions (see the answers below—no peeking!) to test your knowledge, or maybe just your memory….
1. In what year was the US Constitution written?
2. Who signed the US Constitution as New York’s representative?
3. How many amendments does he Constitution have?
4. The House of Representatives has how many voting members?
5. Who is the current Chief Justice of the United States?
How did you do? If you grew up in the US, and/or went to school here, you probably did fine. If you have had to learn your US history and facts as an adult, perhaps it was a bit more challenging. If you had to pass both a written exam and an oral interview, likely not in your native language, how do you think you would do? To take the tests to become a US citizen, I know I would want some help, and that is just what the Greenburgh Library currently offers: a Citizenship Class! In collaboration with Make the Road NY – Westchester branch, we began the Citizenship class on June 1st and it will continue through July 27. (If you missed it, there will be another in August – September so check the Events Calendar for upcoming information.) Make the Road NY aims to increase outreach efforts and programs and services to the immigrant community. They advocate on behalf of our Westchester neighbors from other lands, and work to build “the power of immigrant and working class communities to achieve dignity and justice.” Their name comes from a poem by Antonio Machado, one of my favorite Spanish writers:
“Caminante, no hay camino. Se hace camino al andar.”
“Searcher, there is no road. We make the road by walking.”
– Antonio Machado, Proverbios y Cantares XXIX
We help others to “make the road” towards citizenship a legal and safe path by providing information and help to those in need, at no cost to the library, but with great community impact. I know I can’t wait for the day when our students tell me that they have passed their test, and are proud citizens of the United States and Outstanding Americans by Choice!
And if you need them, here are the answers to the test questions above:
1. 1787 2. Alexander Hamilton 3. 27 4. 435 5. Chief John Roberts (since 2005)