At Forum on Immigration, Participants Raise Awareness on Civic Duty and Political Responsibility

By Samuel Doku

Participants in a recent forum on immigration called on naturalized Americans to participate actively in the nation’s political process and vote in this year’s elections. In a summer of discontent in which the nomenclature of civic responsibility and political awareness is being reconfigured through non-violent protests, the call on blacks and other minority groups to vote, only fortifies the notion of the sovereignty of the individual in the preservation of liberty.

Organized under the auspices of Tim Kaine’s office in collaboration with Thoronka Law Offices, the forum served as a useful source of information on a variety of immigration issues such as DACA, DAPA, VAWA, U-Visas, T-Visas, and Asylum, among others.

“Voting is key, so don’t delay to apply for your citizenship as soon as you qualify for it,” said Daniel Koromah, a community outreach consultant in Silver Spring, MD: “Your citizenship will lead to an active participation in the democratic process.”

Susanna Volpe of AYUDA reminded the audience on the need for unity and togetherness because of the sheer strength in numbers. Ms. Gloria Williams advised a section of the audience waiting for green cards to also participate in the annual diversification lottery program organized by the State Department.

Gustav Gaston from Senator Kaine’s office told the audience to hold their elected officials to high standards in order to challenge them to work assiduously in their interests.

When a member of the audience wanted to know why it is very tough to obtain a driver’s license in Virginia, VA delegate, Vivian Ward revealed that Virginia tightened the acquisition of driver licenses after September 11, 2001, when it was discovered that all but one of the 19 terrorists, who hijacked the aircrafts and plunged them into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Virginia, had obtained their licenses from VA.

Attorney Ishmael Kamah reiterated the need for people to refrain from the dangerous and nefarious practice of false marriages in hopes of acquiring green cards. “It’s a bad idea; don’t do it,” he said.

The forum was a grass root effort to encourage immigrants to be assertive and participate in the political process of this country.

In relation to immigration and voting, President Barack Obama has noted that if democrats had come out massively to vote for their legislators to be elected, he would have had the mandate to push many of his programs through, including immigration reform.

Professor Michael Sesay, consultant and business manager of Thoronka Law Offices, who coordinated the event, remarked: “It was a successful event. Forums on immigration like this one are important because they help in empowering our people to get the necessary information they need. Another forum has been planned for the Fall. The date and venue are yet to be announced.

Send comments to the writer at:


About Dr. Sam Doku
Dr. Samuel O. Doku is a professor and a writer. He earned his Ph.D. in English with concentration in African American Literature from Howard University. He is a W.E.B. Du Bois scholar whose book is titled Cosmopolitanism in the Fictive Imagination of W.E.B. Du Bois: Toward the Realization of a Revolutionary Art. His articles have been published on Google Scholar, in the International Journal of English Language, Literature and Humanities, and College English Association Magazine (CEAMAG).