Define American

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

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ALL STORIES

  • 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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  • Papeles

    | Anonymous

    I came to the U.S. when I was 5. I had not seen my mom in 5 month or so, and my dad since I was around 1, and all I knew was that they were in “Los Estados Unidos”. I had a picture of my dad he had sent me that I would look at all the time and I would smell my mom’s clothes that she had left…
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  • Luna crosses over into Happy nest territory

    | Anonymous

    I was ten years old when on a hot Dominican day, my mother got the news that she had Terminal Ovarian cancer. She asked me how I would feel coming to see my dad in the United States and that she would follow me after to get her surgery. As a child, I was scared! "I don't want to go on a plane alone to New York (since I thought…
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  • Our Immigration Story

    | Anonymous

    Sadly my husband has been in mandatory detention for almost 8 months. He has what immigration calls a "conviction" even though the state does not recognize it as such. He will be subject to a permanent ban from the country. We have a 6 year old son who wants his daddy home.
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  • From an ordinary citizen ...

    | Anonymous

    My father's family came to the US from the Netherlands in the 1850s, seeking a place to farm because the family farm there would not support so many adult children and their families. They were legal immigrants; I have no idea what that process involved. They settled in northwest Iowa. It was an opportunity that would be much harder to come by these days. I live now in a small…
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  • The best American values I know

    | Winter Green

    As a 2nd generation American and neither 'white enough nor 'of color' enough finding where I fit was always difficult. Yet, there was always a sense that 'America' was striving toward an ideal but until last year I had not found a simple statement that evoked that idea. I found it engraved on the Capitol building in Salem, Oregon. 'A free State is formed and is maintained by the voluntary…
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