Beginning today, the children of families attending naturalization ceremonies to become citizens of the United States in downtown Chicago will get to learn a bit about citizenship from a friendly aardvark and his pals. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois is unveiling an "American Dreams Playroom" at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse for kids to play in while they wait for their naturalization ceremony, and an episode of the PBS KIDS show Arthur will play in the room. The episode, "Citizen Cheikh," premiered in October of this year and focuses on Cheikh, a Senegalese boy who fears that his family will have to stop engaging in their own cultural activities once they become American citizens. But he learns that he can still march to the beat of his drum.
The "American Dreams Playroom," made possible by donations from members of The Richard Linn American Inn of Court opens today in a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by a naturalization ceremony. Approximately 1,100 new citizens are administered their Oath of Allegiance by judges for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois at the Dirksen Courthouse.