Diana Mikhaylovna Paris took the citizenship oath administered by Federal District Judge Maurice Hicks in a ceremony at the federal courthouse in Shreveport.
In December 2013, Diana Mikhaylovna Paris became a naturalized citizen of the United States. Diana, from Uzbekistan, and 13 others who immigrated from Mexico, Guatemala, Iran, Bahamas, Germany, Ecuador, India, Jamaica, China, Burundi and Yemen, swore allegiance to their new country in a ceremony at the federal courthouse in Shreveport, officiated by Federal District Judge Maurice Hicks.
In his remarks at the ceremony, Judge Hicks reviewed briefly the founding history of the United States and reminded the new citizens that the United States is a country established by citizens of many countries and that our forefathers wrote the Constitution to ensure liberty for all. After the individuals took their oath of allegiance to United States and renounced all claims of citizenship to their former countries, Judge Hicks told them it is important to participate in government, to register and to vote.
Diana Paris and her son moved from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, to the United States almost 4 years ago. In her native Uzbekistan, Diana studied French and English at the University of Foreign Languages, where she received her bachelor’s degree. She taught students in middle school and high school and worked as a tutor in the French language. Her fluency in English made the process of studying for and passing the naturalization test easier for her than those who must first learn the English language in preparing for the test.
"I am very proud to be an American citizen," she said, citing democracy and the opportunity to travel unrestricted from one place to another as some of the new freedoms she enjoys. Diana and her husband Greg Paris live in Transylvania, La., at the northeastern edge of the state.
Diana has adjusted to the differences in climate and culture of her new home. Although Tashkent, Uzbekistan, could be very hot in the summer, it was less humid, and the winters always brought snow. Also, in the large inland city with all types of public transportation, it was not necessary for Diana to know how to drive a car. That changed when she moved to a small rural town in Louisiana. Now, as most other Americans, she drives herself wherever she needs to go.
Diana said in her new home she is accepted as an American and is not treated differently from anyone else. Making friends and meeting people has become easier for her since her son started to school. His friends’ parents make her feel welcome in the community. Her son’s activities in school and church have brought opportunities for Diana to feel at home in her new country, the United States of America.
-- By Dennise Aiello