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25 People Become Citizens At Dayton Dragons Baseball Game

Wearing a black robe, Judge Michael Newman of the Southern Ohio District Court recites the oath of citizenship into a microphone in front of the third base dugout at the Dayton Dragons baseball game Thursday night. The group of 25 new citizens stand in two rows with their right hands raised, repeating after Newman.
Chris Welter
/
WYSO
Southern Ohio District Court Judge Michael Newman recites the oath of citizenship to a group of 25 new citizens at the Dayton Dragons baseball game Thursday night. This was the second naturalization ceremony to take place at the Day Air Ball Park.

The Southern District Court of Ohio held a naturalization ceremony for 25 immigrants at a Dayton Dragons baseball game.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Newman recited the oath into a microphone at the bottom of the second inning. Standing behind the third base dugout, with their right hands raised, the group became naturalized citizens in front of a stadium crowd of over six thousand people.

A group of 25 immigrants took their oath of citizenship during the Dayton Dragons Baseball game Thursday night. This was the second time the Southern District Court of Ohio has hosted a naturalization ceremony at Day Air ballpark. The first one was in 2019.

“It's our way of reaching out to the community and letting them know what our court does, but also reaching out to the public at large,” Newman said.

According to Newman, the idea to host the ceremony at a baseball game came from Rebecca Fanning, who works for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Fanning brought up the idea of hosting ceremonies at minor league games a couple of years ago. And when they brought up Dayton, Newman says they agreed.

He says there’s nothing more American than a baseball game.

“You weren't a citizen at the beginning of the ceremony and at the end of the ceremony,” Newman said. “[Now] you are a citizen. That's very powerful. And I'm just really honored as a judge to preside.”

The new citizens hail from 20 different countries, including France, Iran and Guyana. The Southern District of Ohio will hold another naturalization ceremony at Great American Ball Park before the Cincinnati Reds game on August 31.