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US Citizenship is a Day Away for Family that Fled Discrimination - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

US Citizenship is a Day Away for a Family that Fled Discrimination

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Monday morning, a family that fled discrimination and a slow economy in Russia six years ago, will gain US citizenship at the Naturalization Ceremony at Monticello.

The Badalova family is of Turkish desent, but for years they called Krasnodar, Russia home. It's there the family says they bore the brunt of ongoing discrimination between Russians and Muslim Turks. Competition for jobs in a down economy only made life worse.

Gulmira Badalova explained, "There was not help for us. If you don't have any work. Here you can go to social services, the IRC, so they can help you every time."

The Badalovas had help finding work, and tools to help them gain permanent citizenship thanks to Charlottesville's International Rescue Committee.

That path to citizenship was not easy. The family had to learn English. They also spent a lot of time studying up on American history.

More than 3,000 people from around the world have become American citizens at Monticello's Annual Naturalization Ceremony since it started in 1963 and 77 are expected to take the oath of citizenship Monday.

The featured speaker will be Muhtar Kent, the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Coca-Cola company.

The ceremony begins at 9 a.m., with gates opening at 7 a.m..  It is free and open to the public.

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