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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  • 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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  • Being American means Family Values

    | Vanessa Perez

    My husband has been ripped from my side. I haven't kissed him in five months because of 287g. I gave birth, alone, to our beautiful daughter in October; she's our first child. Since he's been gone, I have had to work hard to support myself and our daughter. Recently we were married and though our wedding was performed through a pane of glass in an immigration detention facility I could…
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  • Son of Immigrants

    | Michael Z

    My parents both came here from different countries, one to escape a conflict that severely affected their rights and opportunities and the other from a place where it was hard for her family to get ahead in life. They have now been contributing members to this society longer than they ever lived in their birth countries. Although they came here legally, they came at a time when it was easier…
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