Nakia Cooper (standing) and (seated L-R) Herve-Michel Jackson Bremaidou, Nicole Melaku, Dayana Iza and Zenobia Lai participate in the Houston Ethnic Media and National Partnership for New Americans naturalization media roundtable and luncheon on Sept. 19.

Americans might take their freedoms and liberties for granted sometimes.

However, many new Americans know full well how great this country can be for its citizens.

New American citizen and Houstonian Herve-Michel Jackson Bremaidou, 30, spoke to a group of Houston ethnic media leaders at Houston’s City Hall on Sept. 19 to share his testimony about becoming a U.S. citizen.

The native of Central African Republic said, “(Central African Republic) is a country with many natural resources and minerals, but since its independence in 1960, the country has been ravaged by coups and civil and religious wars, making it a highly unstable state prone to corruption and misgovernance.

“I came to the U.S. as an international student, after graduating from high school. That same year I came to Houston, a civil war broke out in the Central African Republic (CAR), leading into a religious war and ethnic cleansing. My family was targeted, and this badly affected my chances of being able to return home from the U.S.”

Wanting to stay in school and needing to support himself financially, Bremaidou started an asylum case with the YMCA of Greater Houston back in January of 2015.

His asylum case got approved by the immigration office.

A couple of years later, Bremaidou received his green card with the assistance of BakerRipley.

In April 2023, Bremaidou received his American citizenship, again with the help of BakerRipley. reported, “The continent of Africa has always represented the good and the bad of wealth and natural resources.

“The continent has enough natural minerals like gold and diamonds for many of the countries to be among the wealthiest in the world.

“However, because of European colonialism, imperialism and exploitation, people from other countries and continents have often reaped the financial rewards, while the countrymen often live in abject poverty.”

Russia has come into CAR to provide protection from civil war for the country’s President Faustin-Archange Toudera.

Gabe Joselow of NBC News reported, “President Faustin-Archange Toudera says he called in the Russians because he was stuck.

“It was 2016, soon after his election and rebels had overrun swaths of the resource-rich country, which is among the world’s poorest nations. Former colonial power France announced it would withdraw it soldiers, the backbone of a United Nations force aimed at quelling the country’s civil war.

“And Touadera’s army and militia didn’t have enough weapons to defeat fighters threatening the capital, Bangui, because the Central African Republic was under a U.N. arms embargo put in place after a previous rebel takeover.

“So, the former mathematics professor turned to Moscow.”

Previously, reported, “Russia did receive the O.K. from the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council to send military trainers to help the Central African Republic government and military.

“However, Russia sent the treacherous Wagner group to patrol the country…

Central African Republic getting into bed with the Wagner group has some comparing it to a relationship where the mafia protects a citizen or business.

“However, when it is time for the individual or business to repay the Mafia for that protection, the cost is extremely excessive.

“Furthermore, getting out of bed with a group like the Mafia often involves much violence and chaos.”

Although America did see some political violence and chaos in 2021, the freedoms that come from a democracy is very noticeable when compared to other countries.

The new American told Houston ethnic media, “I decided to become a U.S. citizen because of what this country represents to me, a beacon of hope and justice.

“The true value is the creation and Constitution of the Founding Fathers being applied through every citizen. The true meaning of freedom through the American Revolutionary War and above all, the melting pot of this American society—with people from so many different backgrounds and cultures who aspire to form one nation, indivisible under the divine providence of God.”

Bremaidou added, “The fervent Christian that I’ve learned to become in this nation sees the vision of the forefathers as justice-seekers, or those who lend a hand to the weak and those in need. On this land blessed by God, the tools and resources that come with being an American citizen allows us to build a greater tomorrow, a better now, and the history of knowledge for all civilization.”

Nicole Melaku, executive director of National Partnership for New Americans (NBNA), wants that greater tomorrow to include Houston as the naturalization capital of America.

Melaku told Houston ethnic media outlets that many people that are qualified to become naturalized citizens do not know how to become citizens or fear the process.

She said that Houston has approximately 312,000 people that are eligible to become naturalized citizens.

Thao Costis, the executive director of Harris County Community Services Department, told Houston ethnic media leaders that 25 percent of Harris County, Texas residents are immigrants, and they make up one third of the workforce.

Melaku wants to launch city and countywide navigation programs in schools, churches and with local media to educate those eligible for naturalization on how to become an American citizen.

To encourage those eligible for naturalization to begin the process of becoming a U.S. citizen, especially younger residents, Bremaidou said, “For the younger generation I’d say becoming a U.S. citizen is like a superhero joining the Justice League with other amazing heroes like Batman and Wonder Woman. So, let’s accomplish greatness by being indivisible on American nation, under God.”

A super country can never have enough superheroes.

Todd A. Smith
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