Twenty-five people were sworn in as United States citizens at Royal Oak’s first naturalization ceremony May 29.

Twenty-five people were sworn in as United States citizens at Royal Oak’s first naturalization ceremony May 29.

Photo provided by Judy Davids

Naturalization ceremony welcomes 25 new citizens to US

By: Taylor Christensen | Royal Oak Review | Published May 29, 2024


ROYAL OAK — The Royal Oak-based Ezra Parker Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, held a naturalization ceremony May 29 to swear in 25 new citizens of the United States.

Heather Curtis, regent of the Ezra Parker Chapter, said that this is the first time the chapter has hosted a naturalization ceremony.

“You know, our chapter has been in Royal Oak since 1927, and we have never hosted an event like this,” she said.

Usually naturalization ceremonies are held in a courthouse, according to Curtis, but the Ezra Park Chapter wanted to provide an exciting welcome to the U.S. for these 25 new citizens.

U.S. District Court Judge David Lawson was present during the ceremony to make it official.

Since 1910, the DAR has helped immigrants become citizens. In 1921, the DAR compiled, published and distributed the “DAR Manual for Citizenship,” according to

There have been more than 10 million manuals distributed free of charge. The manual is available on the DAR website at

The ceremony was held in front of the Royal Oak War Memorial. Royal Oak Human Rights Commission Chair Rachel Andrews, Mayor Mike Fournier and Curtis spoke at the event.

Fournier said that this was his third time attending a naturalization ceremony. Coming from an immigrant family, the first naturalization ceremony was his father’s, and the second was his mother’s.

New citizens were provided with goody bags containing a copy of the Constitution, according to Curtis. There were also refreshments served following the ceremony for the 25 citizens along with their families and friends.

“Being able to have a little community time and welcome them as a U.S. citizen was important,” Curtis said. “We had the Social Security Administration there, which allowed the new citizens to be able to update their status so they’re now naturalized citizens.”

Representatives from the Royal Oak Human Rights Commission and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services were also in attendance.

Dorin Galatean, 21, from Spain, currently lives in Auburn Hills and moved to the U.S. when he was 10 years old.

“Becoming a U.S. citizen certainly was not something I looked forward to, but I was not necessarily nervous or anxious,” Galatean said. “It is just something that I am relieved was finally happening.”

Voting was one of the main topics of discussion at the ceremony, and Galatean believes voting is the indication of true freedom.

“I think voting is important. This nation was built upon immigrants and how it stands for freedom,” he said. “That is one of our core tenets in America. So voting, I believe, is one of the most accurate depictions of freedom, to be free to choose our leaders.”

New citizens had the ability to register to vote at the event with help from chapter members.

Marina Kozachenko came to America from Ukraine in 2011 to study at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

Kozachenko currently resides in Royal Oak and came to Michigan with her partner.

“I heard the judge say something like, ‘Welcome home,’ or, ‘This is your new home,’” she said. “So it kind of feels very welcoming and feels like I do have a new home now.”

The Ezra Chapter does not have a definite plan on if or when it would do another naturalization ceremony, but Curtis said she does not doubt that the chapter will do it again.

Curtis said that the 25 new citizens were grateful to be welcomed into America, and that they showed true caring in becoming citizens.

“That’s the ultimate goal; you don’t want to do this just because. You want to become a citizen to take part in your local community as a citizen,” she said. “Their families were very excited.”