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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  • 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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  • Freedom and Liberty

    | Joshua W

    My family came to this country less than 200 years ago to escape the famine in Ireland and a British government that could care less if they lived or died. They were, and still are, farmers. America to me is simple: we have the right to do as we please as long as our actions don't get in the way of any one else's freedom. We are to question every…
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  • My America

    | Evelyn Hess

    My America looks to the seventh generation, protecting air, water, land, forests, ecosystems and all the creatures within them; striving for the best and most inclusive systems of education and health care, fostering the arts and personal creativity, along with understanding and empathy between disparate groups. My America appeals to our higher angels, inspiring us to care about others and respect ourselves.
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  • Americana 1708: 1 side of 2 poor/alienated immigrant families from which I came. This re my great great gramdma; but my direct grandmother on this side was rescued as infant on the railroad tracks by our W. VA Baileys -a half Native American girl infant

    | Lisa Bailey Way

    Gramma Bailey-s Biscuits Dense as dawn fog on the Potomac. Substantial as Plymouth Rock for the Foundation of Dreams which do not exist on an empty stomach. Draw you out of sleep and keep you going on the long road... rich and ready to care for life’s mystery and to find its winding meaning and to own your own share of something somewhere no matter how far you are from…
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  • Shannon Define's American

    | Shannon Thompson

    I'm Shannon, I was asked to Define American at the Occupy New Hampshire primaries in Manchester, NH. I define American as freedom to be an individual, and to stand up for what you believe in, and to own what you believe in.
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