“It changed my outlook on Canada:” Joseph Mancinelli reflects on ICC community citizenship ceremony

March 10, 2017

LiUNA’s International Vice President and Regional Manager for Central & Eastern Canada on attending an ICC community citizenship ceremony

As a resident of Hamilton and the child of immigrant parents, attending the ICC community citizenship ceremony at the Art Gallery of Hamilton was of particular importance to me. My father, Enrico Mancinelli, spent his life helping immigrants get settled; I have spent decades working with immigrants, focusing on creating job opportunities. These are values I hold dear.

At the AGH, I had the pleasure of hosting an ICC roundtable. The roundtables are truly special; they give newcomers a platform to share their insights and ideas, and allow existing citizens the chance to see immigration as a collection of stories rather than statistics.

I was seated next to a young woman, clearly eager to begin this new chapter of her life. She was asked what excited her most about becoming a Canadian citizen, and her answer was a powerful reminder of the opportunity and freedom Canada holds. For her, citizenship meant having a future — a future that was chosen by her, for her. Canada was her “dream land”, where getting an education and having a career were viable realities for women and achieving goals like financial independence was possible. As a father of three daughters, I was given a new perspective on what it means to be a young woman, as well as a deep appreciation for the privileges Canada offers. But it was what this young woman wanted most from her new life that brought tears to my eyes — community belonging. These simple words held so much meaning for her. The whole experience changed my outlook on Canada.

I am grateful to the ICC and the volunteers and partners who make these events possible. With so much controversy in the world, across oceans and borders, at times it can feel as if humanity is lost. I am humbled by the work of the ICC and its dedication to fostering the Canadian model of belonging.

Joseph and his wife Enza Mancinelli are members of the 6 Degrees Founding Circle and remain strong supporters of all ICC initiatives.

The Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) is the fastest growing union of construction, waste management, show service, and healthcare workers in Canada. Formed by immigrants, LiUNA has continued to fight for equal rights and work towards creating opportunities for new Canadians. LiUNA Station, also known as “Immigration Square” due to the influx of immigrants it welcomed post WWII, pays homage to the roots of the organization.

The Art Gallery of Hamilton has partnered with the ICC to co-host seven community citizenship ceremonies since 2011. Joseph Mancinelli was a roundtable host with the ICC at a community citizenship ceremony in April 2016.