Define American

Using the power of story to transcend politics and shift the conversation around citizenship

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The 21st Century Underground Railroad

| Jose Antonio Vargas

Tags: Jose Antonio Vargas Underground Railroad

The story of new Americans moving to our great country is a story about all of us.

When we launched Define American this past summer, what resonated with people was how closely and deeply my life as an undocumented immigrant was -- and is -- intertwined with those Americans who always opened doors when others were shut. Indeed, mine is a story about the heart and compassion of the 21st Century Underground Railroad: American citizens helping new American immigrants as we strive for full citizen rights. My teachers, school administrators, mentors and friends were all part of my "Railroad." They are the chief reason I'm able to tell you my story.

And here's the thing: there are thousands of stories like mine in every community. Our mission since we launched Define American has been to create the platform to find and share these stories, and in so doing, reshape how we all define '"American."

Above, is one of these stories is about our friends Julia and Mandeep, which I hope you'll take a moment to watch.

As we end this amazing year, our goal is to help tell and share 1,000 more stories of friends and families like Julia and Mandeep. Stories of Americans new and old helping each other is one of the most beautiful parts of our country and of our generation. Our "Stories" platform on the Define American website makes it easy, and we hope that you share Julia and Mandeep's story and share with us your stories as well.

To succeed, we also really need your support in funding our work through the new year. We've built our website and campaign around the country because of all of your extraordinary generosity, and we need your help to continue.  

Can you contribute $10, $25 or $50 to help us make 2012 a year when the definition of "American" includes all of us?

Yes, I can chip in.

We're just getting started.

Thank you from the absolute depths of our hearts for all you've done already, and for all that we'll do together in the New Year!

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