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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  • what America should be

    | jeff bolomey

    Though I can no longer go there my heart is in Key West, Florida. Their philosophy: "One human family." My philosophy: "Free to be." So--for me-- America CAN and SHOULD be: "One human family free to be."
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  • Choice

    | Anonymous

    I was born a U.S. citizen. I was raised in the midwest and now live in the south. From my teenage years through early adulthood, I spent time working in Central American countries - teaching English at first and later working with NGOs on gang-related issues. One of the most bittersweet aspects of being an American is our freedom to choose. We are free to choose our beliefs, free to…
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  • America in 2012? Lost and may not be found again

    | Anonymous

    All that American stood for has been shown to be a sham. Justice, freedom, opportunity, morality, the Constitution are no more. A land of greedy opportunitists and equally so politicians. I wonder what my father who fought in WWII crawling in the jungle of the Philipines would say about the self-centered, shallow lifestyle. Congress is a sad joke but underlines the shallowness of Am. life. I was Am born and…
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  • Story Title

    | Anonymous

    It was I think the purpose of the framers of the U.S. Constituion that Americans be defined in terms of the principles stated in the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States of America, rathet than any Physical,economical or imigration status.Two concepts stand out in my mind Jus Soli and Jus gentium They are Latin in origin and mean citizen by birth and citizen by virtue of…
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  • Defined...

    | Michael Collins

    My family heritage is Dutch and Irish. Many in my family were refused entrance in America because of improper inoculations , errors in paperwork , and because they were Irish. The ones who were allowed to join this society had to learn the language, integrate into a society that treated them like dirt , and many worked on the trans-continental railway. I have read letters from my ancestors on how…
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