More than 40 New Americans were sworn in Friday morning, becoming American citizens at the federal courthouse in downtown Erie.

Chelsea Swift was live in the newsroom with more on the ceremony.

It’s Welcoming Week in the City of Erie, and this ceremony is part of that celebration, with a group of New Americans joining the community.

As Welcoming Week in the city continues, about 40 New Americans were sworn in at the federal courthouse in Erie County on Friday.

This group of American citizens came from 15 different countries, including Ukraine, and Syria.

One New American from Canada said she’s most excited about being able to vote. She encourages other New Americans to register.

“It’s a right we have, but it’s also a responsibility. So with the upcoming election, we have a lot of candidates that are running, and I would recommend investigate who you like,” said Sandy Henderson, New American citizen.

Two New Americans from Syria told us they are looking forward to furthering their education in Erie.

“He’s my cousin, we graduated from Erie High School in 2020. It was amazing,” said Mohammad Todmri, New American citizen.

“It was hard, really hard to graduate from Erie High, but now we are in Gannon University and we’re looking for a good future,” said Abdullah Aaltadmouri, New American citizen.

Mayor Joe Schember said New Americans are valuable additions to Erie. He said they help move the city forward. 

“Those of us that have been here for a long time, over generations, sometimes kind of take it for granted and almost maybe resent new people coming in. But we have to remember the United States, Erie especially, is about diversity, welcoming people, and the more variety we have, the better community we’re going to be,” said Mayor Joe Schember.

As the Welcoming Week celebrations continue, community members are invited to Gallery Night Saturday at 5 p.m.