Gustavo Diaz works as a paralegal for the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia. Gustavo conducts intakes and investigations of DC area residents alleging discrimination, as well as providing appropriate assistance to these individuals. He tells us what attracted him to this job, “I like the whole community aspect and being able to help DC residents and teaching them about their rights and venues they have available. I love being part of the community.”
When asked about why getting his citizenship is important, Gustavo says, “it is crucial for Latinos to be present and vote in every election… [To] make sure that my election vote counts.” Gustavo came to the United States at the age of 11 with his mother, for what was initially just supposed to be a visit to see his father. They ended up staying and Gustavo expresses how being in the U.S. from a young age has prompted him to apply for his citizenship. He says, “For me, it was actually the final step of living here in the states…I felt that the U.S. was my country. I’ve lived here for longer than I did in my native, El Salvador, even though I was born there.”
As a DC government employee, Gustavo heard about the New American Workforce citizenship workshops and the Mayor’s Fund from DC Human Resources. He explains the importance of the workshop, “It was the final push I needed to start the whole process and just knowing the mayor was providing financial and legal assistance, I took advantage of that. It was the perfect moment.” With the help of the NAW and having the sessions located conveniently at his workplace, he found the citizenship workshops extremely helpful. He didn’t have to worry about missing work and having to coordinate time off.
As a recently naturalized U.S. Citizen, Gustavo is eager to vote in this year’s federal election for the first time.