Voting for the First Time Today

Today, for the first time in her life, Mimose is voting.

Mimose is not a youth of eighteen. Mimose is a mother, with two grown daughters. She is a woman who has spent more than thirty years of her life in the United States, working hard taking care of the elderly, paying taxes, and raising her children. Today, along with her daughter, a Philadelphia police officer, Mimose is walking to her polling station and exercising her newly acquired right to vote.

Mimose had had a green card for years, but had put off citizenship. At one point she had applied, but did not pass the test which would confound many natural born Americans:

 “Who do is the Chief Justice of the United States now?” (John Roberts), “Before he was President, Eisenhower was a general. What war was he in?” (World War II). Mimose did not know the answers, and gave up.

But being only a green card holder started to chafe. She could not travel as easily as her daughters. And then the political climate got scary.

That is when she learned about the Philadelphia Citizenship Action Network (P-CAN), a collaboration of seven organizations led by HIAS Pennsylvania that provides potential new American citizens English and Civics classes along with legal help. She started taking civics classes and was introduced to Shaloo Jose, the P-CAN coordinator, who helped her fill out her application.

This time, when Mimose took the test, she was ready. She passed with flying colors and was sworn in as an American citizen.

Now, she feels safe and happy:“before I was a citizen, this was my county, but now, I’m really, really part of this country.”

And so, today, Mimose is voting for the first time, exercising her right to choose who leads the country that has been her home for so many years.