OnWednesday, October 17th Wilmer Valderrama joined forces with Johnnie Walker to surprise hundreds of people who had just become new American citizens with a pop-up portrait studio, food and a live performance in Los Angeles.
Valderrama sat down with several new citizens to learn more about their journey to becoming an American citizen. Wilmer himself noted, “being an immigrant is a blessing and your biggest asset. Immigrants are the core of this country and I’m honored to help share their stories with the world.”
The Citizenship Portrait Pop-Up Studio took place adjacent to the LA Convention Center where thousands of people attended two naturalization ceremonies throughout the day. Local photographer, Castro Frank, whose parents are also immigrants, captured the moment of celebration by taking their first portraits as new American citizens. Attendees also enjoyed a live performance by LA-based soul band Chicano Batman, who sang their reinterpretation of the iconic song “This Land is Your Land” and a selection of their top hits.
Guests who attended shared very poignant thoughts on their day:
“We feel overwhelmed with joy, last month I became a citizen, and today it was my husband’s turn.”
“This is personally one of my biggest accomplishments, I never once stopped trying, even at an older age where to someone else this wouldn’t matter anymore. But it did to me.”
“To anyone out there going through the difficulties that I went through, keep pursuing your dreams, I know it gets hard…But you, you just can’t give up.”
America is a nation built of immigrants, comprised of different backgrounds and cultures and Johnnie Walker is honored to celebrate with these new citizens and to continue to promote diversity and stories of cultural progress as part of its ongoing Keep Walking America campaign.