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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  • My Mom, War Hero

    | Liz Hrenda

    Mom arrived in New York from Holland at 2 years old with her parents and brother. She became a nurse. Like many immigrants, in WWII she volunteered to serve. In the Army Nurse Corps, she tended to wounded soldiers and the survivors of the Holocaust at Ebensee prison camp. She was awarded the Bronze Star for dedication to her patients when her field hospital was bombed. She's on the right…
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  • My life in America

    | Lois Wasserman

    I have had the opportunity of studying at the university I loved even before I started my studies at Boston University in the 1950;s and earning a Ph.D. several years later in 1972. I learned to think and express my views based on my knowledge and not on mythology. I also received the respect in the BU community as a student and a Lecturer,and researcher(volunteer work at the MLK Center…
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  • We are all Americans

    | Manuel Torres

    An American is anyone born in South, Central or North America.
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  • Empowering my undocumented immigrant peers

    | Valerie Klessig

    They say the promise of equal opportunity remains deep in America's heartland. I am part of the sixth generation on my family's dairy farm, carved from the Wisconsin wilderness in 1850 by my German ancestors. They, like other immigrants lured by fertile soil and opportunity, had a dream. In the United States, the right to higher education equips men and women of every race, ethnicity, religion, and social status with…
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  • Venezuelan American

    | Jesus Manuel Rojas Torres

    DEFINE AMERICAN ESSAY Venezuela accepts double nationality, so that makes me a Venezuelan-American but to be honest, I feel I am no longer Venezuelan, I am indeed a proud American citizen. I came to this country because my own did not allow me to flourish. Mediocrity, poverty, under development, unconsciousness are part of what some expert sociologists and anthropologists believe is the inheritance we obtained from Spain and Portugal centuries…
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