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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  • 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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  • Do we have deserve to get a legal status?

    | Anonymous

    My husband and I came to the US 17 years ago, with the hope of paying off the debts we had. We enter the country as tourists and overstayed our visas. Our two children were born here. We pay taxes and own a small company (in a partership with a legal resident). We are well known in our community, we don't get in trouble and only a few friends (americans)…
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  • Big City, Big Realizations

    | Michelle Greenawalt

    I moved from a tiny town in Pennsylvania to the much larger city of Columbus, Ohio to go to college in August of 2008. I had moved to a big, unfamiliar city all by myself to get an education and to play softball, not realizing that after one year and many tears later, I would be quitting softball; the only thing that made me, "me" for the past 13 years…
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  • Fair play, civil rights, equal opportunity

    | Linda Stanley

    Democracy requires that we all have access and opportunity to the liberties, rights, and chance to succeed on a level playing field. As the granddaughter and great granddaughter of Finnish and Jewish immigrants, I was the first to graduate from college (UC Berkeley) and today am so proud as a Westerner to see so many immigrants' children achieve success. Always embrace civil liberties and equal opportunity, and Americans will remain…
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  • Doing it legally and yet still living in the shadows.

    | Anonymous

    I came to United States from the Philippines on a tourist visa in 2001 with my family. We really had no plans of migrating but my friend convinced me to give it a try. My first experience on how broken the immigration system is was when I applied for an extension of stay. My lawyer filed it 2 weeks before my visa was to expire. Unfortunately, while they received my…
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