February 18, 2016 | Participant Stories

A Dream and a Bus Fare
The following is the transcript of a speech Magella Phillip gave to our call-in volunteers during the 2015 call-in training to thank them for their efforts. To watch the video, click on the photo. 

Good morning ladies and gentlemen,

My name is Magella Phillip.  I stand before you today grateful and proud to announce that I am now officially and finally a United States citizen.  I have been a permanent resident for over 26 years and the only non-citizen of my family.  I’ve always wanted to take the steps to citizenship but had no idea how to go about it.  How to even start? What’s the first step? Frustrated, I almost gave up but my desire to be part of the electoral process, to vote, to have the option of participating in a political campaign kept me hopeful.  I wanted to be able to critique or cheer on political candidates but had no voice.  Then one night I sat watching my favorite news channel 7 and they were doing a promotion for people that needed help getting their citizenship.  I called the number they provided and that called changed everything taking me from point A to Z with minimal effort.  The staff of the immigration center at Medgar Community College helped fill out the forms, made appointments, informed and reminded me of upcoming appointments, intervened and handled all unforeseen changes when they arose.  Because of their dedication and professionalism I was able to obtain something I was hoping for.  The best part was I was unemployed and was unable to finance this endeavor, but through the CUNY and the NY Daily News event, all fees were waived.  Thank you to all the people who put their time and effort in making this process possible and making dreams come true, and thank you channel 7 for that very important first step.  I am now a U.S. citizen of this great country and all it cost me was a bus fare.