Department of Neighborhoods

Press Release

Mayor Invites Community to Celebrate "The Many Faces of Houston"
November Citizenship Month Festivities Promote Good Citizenship Through Civic Engagement, Inclusiveness and Unity

October 27, 2016 -- As part of Houston’s annual Citizenship Month activities, today 66 people from 25 countries took the oath of citizenship during the first ever U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony held at city hall.  Mayor Sylvester Turner and numerous city, state and federal officials were on hand to witness the very moving ceremony.

“I would like to extend my congratulations and best wishes to our new Americans,” said Mayor Turner.  “This is a momentous occasion, for the journey to become an American citizen is long and difficult.  We encourage you to exercise your new freedoms and rights by becoming active participants in your community and asserting your voice in government.”

The ceremony was followed by a program and reception hosted by the Mayor’s Citizenship Month Committee led by Houston’s First Daughter Ashley Turner, who is serving as honorary chair of Citizenship Month.  The program featured the presentation of Mayor Turner’s proclamation of November as Houston Citizenship Month, a celebration of “the many faces of Houston.” In its eighth year, Citizenship Month commemorates what it means to be a contributing citizen of Houston through civic leadership, community service and actions that embrace racial and ethnic diversity.

“Citizenship Month is a celebration of what it means to be a good citizen,” said Ms. Turner.  “It’s a calling to all Houstonians to get involved in civic affairs to help strengthen neighborhoods, promote inclusiveness and build unity,”
The program also featured the presentation of the 2016 Citizen of the Year Awards to Citizenship Committee members Benito Juarez, Yu-Ru Hwang and Munira Panjwani. The awards recognize exceptional leadership and community service.

The public is invited to enjoy a variety of performances, exhibits, films, lectures, talks, children’s story hours, arts and crafts, charity events and festivals throughout Citizenship Month. The event venues include city libraries, museums, university campuses, neighborhood centers and green spaces.

Event highlights include the following:  “Be the Peace--Be the Hope,” traveling exhibits that will be on view in the City Hall Annex tunnel and at several Houston and Harris County libraries, November 1 to December 15; the Aga Khan Foundation Walk at Sam Houston Park on November 12; and the World Cup Soccer Tournament at Eldridge Park, which started on October 16 and runs through November 20.  For more details and a full calendar of events, visit

Houston Citizenship Month is an initiative of the Department of Neighborhoods Office of New Americans and International Communities (ONAIC).  The annual celebration is organized under the leadership of the Citizenship Month Committee in collaboration with community partners. For more information about ONAIC, visit