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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  • Karamvir Bhatti - Define American

    | Karamvir Bhatti

    Jose Antonio Vargas started www.defineamerican.com and asks people how they define American. Vargas spoke at Ithaca College on December 5, 2011 to talk about his journey of "coming out" as an illegal immigrant.
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  • Cheryl Contee Defining American

    | Cheryl Contee

    Cheryl Contee of Fission Strategy and Jack & Jill Politics defines American in her own words.
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  • I am an American

    | Anonymous

    My parents died when I was 7, I was brought illegally to this country by my grandmother, my american citizen aunt and uncle adopted me but since it was after 2001, I dont have a chance to get papers.So with no real parents, I get no real status.
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  • My name is Congressman Charlie Gonzalez, Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and I "define American" by the values we share.

    | Rep. Charlie Gonzalez

    My name is Congressman Charlie Gonzalez, Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and I “define American” by the values we share. Americans see opportunities, despite obstacles. We innovate and improve instead of accepting the status quo. Americans aren’t afraid to dream and they don’t give in when times are tough. I don’t define Americans by how they got here-- but rather, how they are working to be productive and contribute…
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  • We're all immigrants

    | Gillian Nigro

    My great-grandfather was a stowaway on a ship from Ireland to America. My entire family's origin is undocumented. Where did the term First-generation American go? We need it back.
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