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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  • Craig Newmark: How I Define American

    | Anonymous

    Hi, I'm Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist and the new philanthropic site "" This is how I define "American:" I define American as playing fair with everyone. I define American as treating people like I'd like to be treated. It's good to remember that. I think that's what our country is about.
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  • American, Dutch, or German?

    | Kristy Collins

    When I was 3 years old, my mother met my father in Berlin, Germany while he was based at Tempelhof. My mother was a Dutch citizen but a Permanent Resident of the US from previous US marriages. My father was a US Army Soldier. He is and always will be the most amazing man in my life. After knowing me and my family (1 brother, 1 sister), he decided to…
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  • A Divided House Can Not Stand

    | Anonymous

    Vargus has asked for a conversation, which means to hear out the other side of this issue. America is on the brink of another historical economic depression. Too many American citizens are homeless and without social services because an illegal immigrant has their job and entitlements to survive. All of us are ready to do manual labor, now. By being in the United States without following our federal laws is…
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  • Torn Apart: United by Love, Divided by Law

    | Judy Rickard

    I am American. My wife is not. We are a lesbian couple, a lesbian binational couple. We suffer from DOMA, Defense of Marriage Act, and its effect on the U.S. immigration laws because my spouse is a legal stranger based on current law. We have had to be torn apart. I have had to take early retirement to be with my wife. I have had to leave behind aging parents…
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  • My Book Tells the Sad Stories of LGBT Binational Couples Like Mine

    | Judy Rickard

    Because I cannot sponsor my wife for immigration, we have to be separated - torn apart - for months at a time. Many others have our struggle - many of them have a worse time than we do. I have gathered stories of LGBT binational families and created a resource that shares the face of this immigration and marriage discrimination and offers pages and pages of resources and media sources…
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