Define American

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

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  • I am a DREAMER...well almost...

    | Anonymous

    Meet Gabriela. A DREAMER... well almost... She missed the age-at entry requirement by a couple of months.

    After reading her story, don't you think she more than deserves a shot too?

    "I, Gabriela Monico, hereby declare as follows: My name is Gabriela Monico. I am a resident of California. I was born in San Salvador, El Salvador. I came to the United States in November 2005 on…

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  • Done Dreaming

    | Esmy Jimenez

    My name is Esmy Jimenez. I was raised in a small town in Washington State known for agriculture and friendly people. I graduated from the local high school as the Senior Class President. I was in National Honor Society and enrolled in all the AP classes my school provided. I even ran on the cross country team and (attempted) to play tennis. On weekends I worked for a catering company…
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  • No Papers Necessary.

    | Anonymous

    My name is Pat. My first "American" family member got to these shores in 1621. His name is William Claiborne and there is a plaque dedicated to him in the church at Jamestown. However, the other half of my family is Irish. The Irish side of my family, while I am not certain, very likely arrived here without any papers since they fled here during the famine. So, in…

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  • I am an American, but I live in the shadows...

    | Anonymous

    In 1998, I met my immigrant husband in Chicago while I was in AmeriCorps and going to school. By that time, he had been in the US for almost 10 years--he had earned his GED, learned English, and moved up from his original position as dishwasher to become a kitchen manager. We fell in love. In 2002, we got married in his hometown in Mexico. We were told that petitioning…
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  • I Teach Americans. So What?

    | Anonymous

    While sitting at a scholarship pageant, I remember how an idyllic teenage girl explained that her dream was to become a teacher. I was a cynical teen in those days and so I rolled my eyes as her sweet, but very breathy voice tinkled the words, "I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way." I had to chew on the sides of…
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  • A American DREAM come True....

    | Maria Lopez

    I came to the U.S. when I was 7 years old. At that time my only concern was going to Disneyland and seeing my dad who had come over to the US several months before. However as I grew up I realized that something was different about me. The first time I realized it was just before I went to junior high and was filling out paper and saw a…
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  • Growing Up in America When You're Not Considered American

    | Gil Laroya

    I was born in Mountain View California, a place that was once known as a small sleepy Pacific state town, but is now known as the center of Silicon Valley. Growing up in a neighborhood which was of mixed race, the idea of nationality never came up in my young mind. But as I grew up, I began to take note of how people treated me. Kids would occasionally make…
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  • Mexican Immigration through the Southwest

    | Tom Miles

    In 2004 I began a project of capturing the history of Albuquerque for its 300th birthday celebration in 2006. The project ended up being a 4 foot x 16 foot full-color wall display in the Convention Center depicting history and cultural events for Albuquerque, New Mexico, the U.S., Mexico, Europe and Asia-Pacific, from 1400 to 2005. A year or so later, the Mexican immigration issue began really gaining steam, so…
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  • Being an American is in your heart

    | Elsie Snuffin

    An American is someone willing to work hard and be part of the community, from neighborhood to nation. An American is someone who believes in the American Dream and wants it for everyone who lives here and loves this country. Being an American is in your heart.
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  • Freedom

    | Anonymous

    well to me there is no broken system its just a messed up place and we have to blame it on something. well to me an american is not a social security card or the right to be here to me its a blessing to have any one of another race here in the united states with us . "one nation under god indivisible and justice for all" now in…
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