Indian American philanthropist made these remarks during a ceremony where some 200 foreign nationals took the oath of citizenship.
Boston, Massachusetts: Successful entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist Frank Islam told his story of struggle and success in the US coming from India with just $35 in his pocket. Mr. Islam was speaking at a naturalization ceremony where immigrants took the oath and officially became US citizens. The ceremony was held today at historical John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum where about 200 people took the oath as new citizens of the United States.
New citizens along with their family members and others listened with rapt attention to Islam’s story of how studying at Aligarh Muslim University, he was encouraged to come to the US by a professor from Colorado to come to the US to study Mathematics. Mr. Islam came to the US at the age of 16.
During his college years, he worked at fast food restaurants in Colorado. He would eventually get into information technology and start his own business, the QSS Group. Over time, he grew the business from a single employee, himself, to more than 3,000 with annual revenues of more than $300 million.
“It is America that provided me with ladders of opportunity to succeed. I am a recipient of America’s kindness and generosity. My story reaffirms the notion that America is a land of opportunity. My story also shows that America is a nation of inclusion, openness, opportunity, democracy, and freedom. All of us can proudly and truly embrace these values and qualities of America,” Mr. Islam told the gathering.
The Indian immigrant called on the new citizens to be citizens of the 21st century by becoming active in their communities.
“President Kennedy said, ‘In a democracy, every citizen regardless of his interest in politics or holds office, every one of us is in a position of responsibility. The kind of government we get depends on how we fulfill those responsibilities,’” Islam said. “I ask you to fulfill those responsibilities by being a 21st Century Citizen.”
Islam encouraged the 200 in attendance to go out and help make America the nation it can be. “As immigrants and the future of America, I know that you will make great contributions to ensure that dream is even stronger and better for the citizens of this immigrant nation,” he told the crowd.
The ceremony was presided by the Honorable Judge Allison Burroughs, federal judge for the United States District Court, District of Massachusetts. Judge Burroghs while reading the names of all the countries represented today paused after mentioning Russia and said her own grandfather came from that country.
The Naturalization Oath Ceremony is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. In celebration of their new citizenship, the Kennedy Library presented everyone with a commemorative edition of the Inaugural Address of President John F. Kennedy.
The ceremony is part of the year-long celebration of President John F. Fitzgerald’s 100th birthday on May 29, 2017.
About the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and John F. Kennedy Library Foundation
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is one of 14 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. It is supported, in part, by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization. The Kennedy Presidential Library and the Kennedy Library Foundation seek to promote, through educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history, and culture, the process of governing and the importance of public service.