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home : community : community Tuesday, November 21, 2017

6/15/2016 4:11:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
Ka Vang Represents MPR At Naturalization Ceremony

Amy Doeun

Ka Vang has been working with MPR, Minnesota Public Radio for about a year and a half now. "I have been loving it," she said of her work as the Director of Impact and Community Engagement, "I help develop the strategies to learn how our music and news makes a difference in people's lives. I also measure and track how people respond to the music and news." One way she does this is through focus groups. Another area of her work is researching how to reach communities of color.

Recently Vang had the experience of representing MPR at a naturalization ceremony. For years, American Public Media Group has been donating space, ushers and flyers at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul for the naturalization ceremony. "Our role is provide a space for the people that do the ceremonies for free," said Vang. The actual ceremony is conducted by the federal government and court system. "It is a really formal program."

Vang did the welcome for the morning ceremony, "It was a monumental responsibility in my life. I was naturalized in 1995. It (my ceremony) is a really emotional ceremony. The path to citizenship is really hard. I came from a war torn country. It was the culmination of my experience, my parents experience and our journey. So for me to have the honor of welcoming and being part of a ceremony for others; it was a highlight of my life, literally."

Those gathered represented every continent except for Australia and Antarctica. Many of them wore the traditional clothing of their country and waved flags.

"I read a poem entitled Extraordinary Citizen. I also shared my experience about my path to citizenship," Vang continued.

Vang was not the only one to welcome the new citizens, there was a video message from President Obama and a special court session where they are sworn in and say the Pledge of Allegiance for the first time as U.S. citizens. "The judge gave everyone a speech about the responsibility of being citizens." The League of Women Voters also attended and encouraged everyone to register to vote.

In the end everyone sang "America the Beautiful" and were united by their love for their new country. Vang spoke for MPR saying, "MPR is honored and thrilled to be part of that experience for new citizens. This is one way we give back."

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