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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  • Irony

    | Andres Villalba

    My parents and I came to this country 10 years ago, and like everybody else I attended high school. I made friends, I had my dreams, I got frustated and like everybody else I graduated. But it was a rude awakening to know that my future as a student had ended with a high school diploma. The struggles my parents had gone through to give me an opportunity became obsolete…
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  • What I'm Dealing With Now

    | Gian Trotta

    I guess this is long overdue. I’m sure that most if not all of the people I come in contact with are aware that I’m moving. Some people think I’m moving to Ohio, others know the actual story. I guess I’ll start by explaining some backstory. When I was ten years old my mom and dad decided to move from Venezuela to the US. We originally moved to Ohio but…
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  • "A Life Lived In Fear Is A Life Half Lived"

    | Elizabeth Carballo

    I'm Ellie. Both of my parents came to the United States illegally, and a couple of years ago, my parents both risked deportation. It was a terrible time because it happened while I was studying abroad. I remember getting to the airport, back home in DC, and not knowing whether my parents would be there to take me home. It is absurd that in 2012 our country can shut people…
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  • Welcome is American

    | Linda Hartke

    Welcome is American, and Americans are welcoming. As president of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, I represent an organization that has been welcoming newcomers to the United States since 1939. Throughout our history, we have worked with churches and organizations across the nation to bring those fleeing persecution and seeking new opportunity to the United States. Welcoming immigrants and refugees is a fundamental part of being American.
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  • Land of Fairytales Come True.

    | Diana Lee

    My family immigrated from South Korea to the United States when I was seven years old. I thought I was going to live in a Disney castle. When my parents first announced that we would be “visiting” our aunt and uncle in California, I was excited. I told all my friends that I was going to go to Disneyland and eat hamburgers everyday though I was told not to tell…
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