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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  • Migrants

    | Maureen Flanigan

    I am Irish through and through but I've never been to Ireland. I HAVE gone to the US Mexico border several times a year to volunteer with No More Deaths and Borderlinks, providing supplies, footcare and advocacy. The migrants are human beings. They laugh, tell stories and love their families. They are like us, only poor, displaced and harmed by our past and present immigration policies. We are all Americans.…
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  • Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it everyday

    | Anonymous

    I work for a very successful Aerospace Corporation, the key to its success its the diversity of its people (employees). Same can be said about the US (AMERICA) we are a great nation due to the diversity that each of its citizens contribute to, especially the immigrants. At my work, in my group I manage 18 engineers, all immigrants from different countries: China, Japan, Vietnam, Lebanon, Iran, England, US (…
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  • unlikely bedfellows

    | Elizabeth Claman

    My mother's family braided together strands from France and Scotland. My father's parents were from a town that was at times Ukrainian, at times Polish. He was Jewish, she Episcopalian; he a fast-talking New Yorker, she a quiet Wyoming ranch girl. I see elements of both in myself. The very unlikeliness of these two people meeting and falling in love seems to me the consummate American story.
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  • Who are we? What is America?

    | Elizabeth Baird Saenger

    I'm one of those people whose parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great and as far back as I know were born here. ( I'm almost 70.) All are of English descent except for one Scot, one Dutchman and one Irishwoman. America could not be a country to feel proud of unless we find a way to welcome immigrants from everywhere. The heart and soul of America mean a country not of birth…
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  • America - The Melting Pot

    | Anonymous

    My ancestors immigrated from Sweden and France. My father told me stories of his mother not allowing Swedish to be spoken in the home. We are Americans now - we must speak English! It takes time to assimilate into a new country, new culture, new language. They came over on boats and became citizens. Our laws now make it nearly impossible for immigrants. I especially am concerned about our Mexican…
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