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 life.

    | Anonymous

    I met my husband 11yrs ago and he is from Mexico.We got married 5yrs ago.Then 2 years ago I was told I had cancer (Leukemia) the type I had there is no cure for and I have no medical Insurance.My treat the cancer is almost 6,000 per month and a company is supplying my meds.for now.I had to go on disability.My husband is illegal we can't pay for his…
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  • We're all the same...

    | Anonymous

    I was born and raised in South Carolina as well as my parents and grandparents. After researching my family history, I found that I had ancestors from Ireland as well as England. There's documentation of one of my Irish ancestors running into a rough time in Ireland and so he jumped on the boat to come to America for a better a life. Had it not been for his brave…
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  • My family resembles Heinz 57!

    | E.F.L.

    America today reminds me of the "melting pot" I learned of in school but never really saw except in big cities. Both of my Grandmother's were from Nova Scotia, Canada. My husband's Dad and Mom were from Poland. They lost the farm that had been in my father-in-law's family for over 200 years. My husband was born in Germany and came to the United States through Ellis Island. I'm a…
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  • We Are All Immigrants

    | JC Honeycutt

    My husband's grandmother emigrated from Poland to escape the pogroms she was subject to as a Jew. She hid her true heritage, afraid she would be sent back: I realized she was Jewish when my husband asked how she had celebrated Christmas in Poland. "The priest came & asked us for money, " she said. "If we had none to give, he beat us with a cat-of-nine-tails." It was only…
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    | Bertha Avila

    My name is Bertha and my parents immigrated our whole family when I was only 5 years old in 1964. I am now 52 years of age and love this country as though it was my birth country. I did not know that I was an immigrant until I was a teenager. Having grown up and assimilated the american life, I believed that I was an American in light of…
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