MILWAUKEE — The Community Center for Immigrants in Milwaukee is helping immigrants and refugees on their path to citizenship. It’s playing a crucial role in getting people ready to make the United States their home.
The center has helped more than 80 participants in its first year since starting in 2021. Nur Jahan Mohomad is a refugee from Myanmar, formerly known as Burma and has studied with the center for about a year. She moved to the U.S. in 2015 with one sole purpose.
“I want to live in a free country,” said Mohomad.
She said came here to seek freedom and an education for both her and her kids. She said she had never received any kind of education back in her country, so this is all a new experience for her.
Mohomad's been taking citizenship courses for the past year with her instructor Caitlyn Lewis, who is the executive director of the Community Center for Immigrants.
Lewis has six years of experience as an educator and said she has had her own personal experience with the immigration system. Her husband is a Tibetan refugee, so she has seen first hand all of the challenges one may face coming to the U.S.
Her background as an English teacher and in trauma informed care has helped her better serve refugees like Mohomad. Lewis said Mohomad has made lots of progress.
“I remember when she first started, she was confused because there was so much to learn,” said Lewis.
The virtual classes prepare students for their naturalization interview. That step comes before becoming a citizen.
“I want to be the hardest interviewer they have, so when they go for their interview, they feel comfortable and calm,” said Lewis.
Lewis’ background as an English teacher and in trauma informed care has helped her better serve refugees like Mohomad.
Mohomad was sworn as a citizen of the United States just before the holidays and said she feels a sense of pride and accomplishment.
“I am very happy,” she said after walking out of her ceremony with her certificate.
Mohomad said she can now relax knowing all her hard work paid off. She said she’s eager to keep learning as she continues her journey for a better life here in America.
For more information on the center, visit https://communitycenterforimmigrants.com/.