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‘You’re talking to a new American citizen’

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CT Post By John Breunig.

“I am an American citizen. Thank you.”

Consider the power of those seven words. They hint at a much deeper narrative.

Trim off the final phrase of gratitude and it’s merely a statement. The “thank you” informs us the writer was not born in the United States and expresses appreciation not just for becoming an American citizen, but to those who helped make that happen.

It’s a real note, typical of the ones Barbara Kestenbaum and James Knight receive after their students at the Building One Community (B1C) citizenship class pass the test to become Americans.

Barbara and James are volunteers, paid only in a bounty of calls, texts, and WhatsApp messages revealing the outcome of citizenship tests.

Some notes are even briefer.

“Passed” delivers the news Barbara and James wait anxiously to hear. Then the sender adds a second line:

“Thanks to you.”

Some need no words at all. Five U.S. flags, a thumbs-up, and three sets of hands in prayer make the point efficiently. But there is a poignancy to every one of them.

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