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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  • What American means to me

    | Mary Olivella

    I came to the U.S. from Panama when I was 18, and found more options as a woman to begin a professional career so decided to stay. I believe being an American is choosing the land you want to live in to raise a family and to help the country be the best it can be.
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  • New Dream

    | Justin Hirsch

    I believe the American Dream must fundamentally change from one of "I can have whatever I want if I work hard and step on the backs of others" to "I must work to support a sustainable and just future for all humanity." We are on the cusp of a global societal revolution in terms of how we interact with the planet, our fellow countrymen, and our fellow humans around the…
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  • Me and you both!

    | Paula P

    Me and you both live in America.... the place that a lot of people like me call the American dream, and a lot more just live in it. Today, when I was with a client I realized all of the blessings I have, including the blessings that being an "American Citizen" gave me. It gave me the opportunity to have better education, to travel, to have a house, and to…
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  • America from the Greyhound Bus

    | Leah Kovitch

    My name is Leah and I am a 17 year old American girl living in New Hampshire. This summer I discovered something profound about my country in an unusual way, when I decided to travel across the country by Greyhound bus. I traveled, beginning in New Hampshire and making my way down the east coast, across the South, through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and finally reaching my destination in California.…
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  • To Be American

    | Jeff W

    My family came to America through Ellis Island in 1904. After many generations we've never forgotten why our family game to this country. To be American is to acknowledge that American Exceptionalism is not God-given but something we earn when we work hard, smart, and with unshaken integrity; when we show compassion and love to those different than us; and when we hold our leaders and institutions accountable for the…
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