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 Heritage

    | Sandra Corder

    Daddy is Cuban, mommy is Jamaican, and I was born in Jamaica, West Indies. They came to this country while I was a baby along with my older sister. Times were different then and we lived in the Northeast but while man may put up borders, it is the right of all sentient beings to have the best life possible and sometimes it means doing things one normally would not…
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  • Self-deportation

    | Anonymous

    My kids bought property in Costa Rica, they lost it and I am sooooo sorry. my son said it is too many bugs, too much humidity and snakes ,i would not live there. Well I would especially if Gingrich wins, Arrest the Supreme court justices that do not agree with you hmm; where have i seen that before?
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  • In Memory of the Marches of May Day, 2006

    | Nathanael Smith

    For my brothers and sisters who crossed desert sands To live in orchards and fields and work with their hands Making fruitful and bountiful this fertile land Asking only to be left in peace For my sisters and brothers who live in fear That an INS agent may seize someone dear And arrest and deport them for being here I pray that the violence might cease. A long time ago…
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  • Long wait

    | Chris Pretoni

    I await for an immigration reform with utmost hope that I along with millions of people in my situation will be able to regularize our legal status here in the U.S.. For me, resiliency, persistency and hard work are good definitions of american.
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  • This land of immigrants

    | Ann Colburn

    My father's family came from Sweden in 1787; my mother's parents came from Eastern Europe in 1897. Except for three or four Native Americans I have met in more than 30 years of teaching, everyone I know, including my current students, most of them from Mexico and Central America, is from somewhere else. Without its immigrants, America would not be the place that most people in the world want to…
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