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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  • With a different Accent

    | Anonymous

    I am an American citizen by birth and was raised in Juarez Mexico. I moved to the USA in 1978. since then I been accused of being here illegally. We cannot be judged by the way we speak or the accent that we have. For the last 20 years I have serve our Country as a Firefighter (no one ever question my accent when being rescued out of a bad…
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  • My home...

    | Christian Guillen

    Just an undocumented young man; one who has never lived in the country of their birth. If I am told to "go home," well, I reply that I have always been home. I only ask for a chance to be accepted into my culture; my country; my home. I hope, soon, that I may be as free as a bird. "I know why the caged bird sings..." -Maya Angelou
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  • Child of Immigrants, Sharer of Opportunity

    | Mary Reynolds

    My father and my father-in-law were both born in Germany. My mom and mother-in-law were both born here but there parents were Slavic immigrants. As children my husband and I were taught that with hard work we could achieve anything so he became an attorney and I became a teacher. In my public school job I taught English to Mexican immigrants. Now that I'm retired I have a new job…
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  • The Americas

    | Elizabeth Murray

    I had always learned that an "American" is someone from the United States but people from the other parts of the Americas are also considered American. I am friends with many people from Central and South America. They constantly are reminding me that they are American, too. I love this definition of American because it unites us all together. In a time where there are a lot of prejudices against…
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  • What is an American?

    | Mark Hamersly

    It's someone who ALWAYS does the right thing, the LAWFUL thing, regarless of personal preferences, or feelings, and then stands up for, and if need be, FIGHTS so that ALL OTHERS can live freely under the Constitution which thousands of people like me, my brother, my Father, my Uncle, and, yes, MY WIFE have put their life on the line to protect, and so doing serve this nation. An AMERICAN…
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