CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated there were 22 new citizens, not 30.

ITHACA, N.Y. — The day after midterm elections was a memorable one for 30 Tompkins County residents from 22 countries who officially became American citizens this week. At the Tompkins County Courthouse on Nov. 7, music filled the main courtroom while outside, a table was stationed encouraging the new citizens to utilize one of their most powerful tools as citizens — voting.

“I am honored and humbled to stand before you and be the first to welcome you as a fellow American,” Tompkins County Legislator Shawna Black said before a packed courtroom of petitioners and their family and friends. 

Consistent with the themes of diversity and inclusion, Black commented on a historical midterm election that resulted in the appointment of a diverse pool of politicians, unprecedented from any midterm election in United States history. Black stressed that as citizens of the United States, the right to vote is “the greatest of powers” thus instilling a sense of American allegiance and national responsibility among people present.

Supreme Court Judge Eugene Faughnan, who presided over the special term, remarked upon the natural born rights all citizens of the U.S. possess as the 30 petitioners stood before him, each studded in red flowers pinned to the breast pockets of their shirts.

Faughnan led petitioners in the oath of allegiance. Tears and the flashing lights of families and friends snapping photos soon followed.

Musicians London McDaniels and Travis Knapp provided vocals and instruments preceding the adjournment.

Certificates of Naturalization were distributed in the courtroom immediately following adjournment.

Featured image: Twenty-two people became American citizens Nov. 7 in the Tompkins County Courthouse. 

Mitchell Wajda

Mitchell Wajda is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice and a senior at Ithaca College where he studies screenwriting. Mitchell can be reached via email at