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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  • Brought to America

    | jill scott

    My story begins like many others. I was brought to America as a teen by my mother. We came from England to Canada, and crossed the border illegally there. I was not told that we were illegal until we were close to the border, when I was told what to say if asked. I didn't go to school, and lived in fear of the Border Patrol. We later, crossed back…
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  • Embacing optimism

    | Anonymous

    My father was a first generation American born to Russian-Jewish immigrants. My mother was born into a family of New England yankees. I am married to a man whose father was born in Puerto Rico and whose mother was born in Rhode Island from a background of Welsh and English. I have lived in California, Hawaii, Texas, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, crossing the country back in the days of Jim…
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  • American Dream?

    | Anonymous

    My impression is always that most people from impoverished third world countries (myself included) come to America to better their lives, to have a share in the abundance of this land of milk and honey or in other words to fulfill their so-called American Dream. America is always seen as the ultimate fulfillment of our happiness and dreams that we ached to come here no matter what it takes. Personally,…
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  • 45 women define american

    | 45 women

    We are 45 women activists. We saw Jose Antonio Vargas speak, and were moved to participate in this inspirational campaign to normalize the immigration discussion.
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  • On being a first generation Child of Holocaust Survivors

    | Pinhas Brown

    On being a first generation Child of Holocaust Survivors My family and I came to the United States in 1968 from Prague, Czechoslovakia. My parents were Jewish, and they were both orphans, having lost their immediate and extended families in concentration camps. Without a strong Jewish community in Prague, they felt isolated. My father wished to emigrate to Israel or to the United States or Canada. He gained a job…
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