ATLANTA - More than two dozen people in the Atlanta area become US citizens on Wednesday.
Among them is Ballaline Rose Davies, who has waited more than 20 years for this day.
"Today was overwhelming. I'm full of joy, grateful," Davies said.
Her zestful personality and optimism make it easy to forget the rough journey she went through to get to this point.
It's one that started unexpectedly at a young age,
Davies lived with her aunt and traveled to the US to visit her mother. Her mother and her aunt got into a fight, which led to Davies' aunt abandoning her at the airport in San Francisco.
Davies was left with her with a mother she didn't even know.
"She left Liberia when I was two. I didn't know her. She didn't know me but I knew I wanted to be away from the abuse of my aunt," Davies said.
Davies is resilient and the last 26 years are proof of that.
She's a single mother to two. She attempted to become a US citizen five times and she was almost deported twice. She even found herself homeless at one point.
Despite it all, she knew what she wanted and wasn't giving up.
"I always tell people, don't forget your why. Don't forget why you want to come here," Davies said.
She says the timing of her citizenship couldn't be better and she's thrilled to finally take part in something she's wanted to do for years.
"The first thing they gave me when I got into the room was paper that said your Georgia voter registration card and I got chills," Davies said.
Davies says she's had no choice but to simply observe events unfolding in the US over the years, but now, she's ready to make her voice heard.
She hopes others don't throw away an opportunity many fight years for.
"That's why you should go to the polls and vote and you should fill out that census. Or else, you don't matter. You don't have a right to say anything. You don't get to go on Facebook and make any comment when this is over. Some of us didn't have a choice for years," Davies said.
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