The importance of practicing civic duty

Basma Alawee in front of a visa display

Becoming a citizen of the USA comes with benefits and responsibilities.

Being a United States citizen is a privilege for many, and it comes with civic duty. It’s a country where you can practice your freedoms. It’s a country where as soon as you become a citizen you can run for a public office, even though you were not born in it.

It’s a country where you can meet your representatives and discuss your community issues.

If they do not make the changes that are needed you can sign petitions, rally, or even peacefully protest to show them how important the issues are.

I became a US citizen in 2016 and as much as I practice my rights, I follow my civic responsibilities. When any immigrant wants to become a citizen, we are required to pledge an oath of allegiance which contains four main civic duties. They are to give up allegiance to foreign countries, to defend the Constitution and the law of the United State, to be loyal to the USA, and to serve in the military or do important work for the USA if required by law. 

After I became a citizen I registered to vote. I count voting as one of the most important civic duties.

It is our civic duty to elect people who reflect the community and represent our voice, our issues and our needs.

There are many elections that people could get confused about. There are primary and general elections. There are presidential and midterm elections. The most important thing about elections is to research your district candidates and try to meet them to learn about their values and their priorities. Don’t forget if you already registered to vote and before any election when you change your address or your party. That means you need to update your voter registration and there is a deadline for it. 

Some other civic duty and responsibilities come with being a US citizen, like jury duty. This is a civic duty in which citizens must make important decisions about a person who committed the crime.

As we talk about our civic duty, we think civic duty is just required for a US citizen, for example paying taxes. But paying taxes applies to all residents who live and work in the United States or sometimes even if you are contracted outside the country. There is also the census that all the residents of the United States take part in to reflect the numbers and the people who live in this great land. 

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