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Amway Fourth of July Family Fireworks to include naturalization ceremony

As part of the Fourth of July celebration, 60 West Michigan residents will be sworn in as U.S. citizens on the Fourth of July at Ah-Nab-Awen Park.
Fireworks over the Grand River

Fireworks over the Grand River /Courtesy of Andrew Pastoor

Amway Fourth of July Family Fireworks schedule:

6 p.m. - Naturalization ceremony begins at Ah-Nab-Awen Park and will be followed by live entertainment.

10:30 p.m. - Fireworks show will begin.

For more information visit the Fourth of July Family Fireworks website.

For the first time, the Amway Fourth of July Family Fireworks will include a naturalization ceremony.  During the Independence Day celebration 60 West Michigan residents will be sworn in as United States citizens.

“It was important to us for the community to have something sort of different, more exciting,” says David Madiol, Manager of West Michigan Communications.

The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. at Ah-Nab-Awen Park, 303 Pearl Street. More than 100 Independence Day naturalization ceremonies will take place throughout the country from July 1 to July 5.

Following the naturalization ceremony, the new citizens will register to vote and apply for passports at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. Live entertainment including Three’s A Crowd and Blue Molly will begin at the park after the ceremony.

“Not only is this naturalization ceremony something super fantastic, but it’s a really good fit for what the company stands for,” says Madiol. “We’re all about opportunity, economic freedom, family... and Amway means the ‘American way.’”

Michigan State University assistant professor Gulshod Mamadnazarova is one of the West Michigan residents participating in the naturalization ceremony. Originally from Tajikistan, a former Soviet Union republic, Mamadnazarova moved to Michigan in 1996 to be with her daughter.

“Everywhere - at the university, my neighbors - these people are very kind, intelligent, caring and very generous,” says Mamadnazarova of her time in the U.S. “Not only the democracy and freedom here, but also the people... that’s what we like here.”

Mamadnazarova first came to America as a senior officer of the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe to participate in a human rights advocacy program at Columbia University. An English professor for almost 20 years in Tajikistan, Mamadnazarova returned to school to get her masters degree in Russian studies from Michigan State University. In 2008 she became an assistant professor at her alma mater.

“I wish I came here when I was younger. I would have done more,” says Mamadnazarova. “I always tell them, the young people who come here, there are so many opportunities. Don’t waste your time.”

Mamadnazarova is looking forward to finally becoming a citizen of the place she calls her “true home.”

“It’s an honor and I’m proud to become a citizen of the United States,” says Mamadnazarova.

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