THE BLOG
07/10/2014 12:43 pm ET Updated Sep 08, 2014

Welcome to the USA: I Am an American

Text of speech given to more than 1,000 new citizens from 104 countries at a naturalization ceremony being sworn in at the Paramount Theater in Oakland, California on May 25, 2014:

Buenas Dias, (MANDARIN, TAGALOG), Good Morning.

And Bienvenido, (MANDARIN, TAGALOG), Welcome.

I am honored to have you join me as citizens in this great country. You probably know more about being good citizens and the history of America than most folks born in the USA myself included.

This is a great country but make no doubt about it, you can make it better.

So I urge you to be good citizens and work for the betterment of this country. Please register to vote and vote, mentor someone, follow your passion, embrace your new country and be involved in your communities to make them better.

Recognize your privileges, you have revoked your country of origin but never forget where you came from, it adds to the rich tapestry and diversity that is America.

I work for a traditional media company but in 2014 everyone has the opportunity to "be the media" and tell their story.

Social media is a powerful tool for connecting people but as we are gathered here today in celebration, please remember to stay connected in real life not just social media.

For it is these connections that bind us all as Americans.

Let's root for America whenever or wherever we can in sports, politics, whatever the venue or occasion. Not because we are putting the other countries down, but because we are uplifting America and proud to be Americans.

As Americans, show me and other Americans the way, make us all proud.

It doesn't matter where you come from, it matters what you do with your life, so live it to the fullest, make every moment count.

Make connections now not later, turn to your neighbor and quickly and quietly congratulate them on becoming an American.

And later congratulate yourself.

With privilege comes responsibility, it is serious, but have fun being an American.

Work hard, play harder. Smile and laugh, it doesn't cost a thing.

Please join me on the count of three by saying together four powerful words: "I am an American"

One, two, three: "I am an American"

Remember this day, this is the day you became an American, congratulations.

Gracias, (Mandarin and Tagalog), thank you.

Peace and blessings.