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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  • American DNA

    | Anonymous

    With all respect for first and second generation citizens, being American is not about "following your dream" or living in a free land. My family has been "in-country" since the 17th Century. We have served in State and Federal legislatures. We died to provide sons and daughters with freedom. We gave up baseball careers to fight fascism and left part of us on the battlefield in France. We are share-croppers…
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  • Define American

    | Anonymous

    I was brought to this country from Mexico at eight years old with my parents seeking a better life of opportunity for myself and my 3 brothers and sister. Almost 20 years later, I have been blessed enough to be able to complete a Bachelors degree, begin a career, own a house... despite my undocumented status - the "American dream" right? I married my husband for all the right reasons…
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  • Documented non-immigrant

    | Anonymous

    Documented non-immigrant? At least, that's how I am classified according to United States government. I am not really an eloquent writer like Jose Vargas, but I'd try my best to tell a bit about me. I came to US in 2006 when I was 20 years old to study something which I was very interested in since my teenage. I wanted to study Astronomy as it had become my biggest…
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  • When Can I Go Home?

    | Mayra Plata Rosales (Villalobos)

    My name is Mayra Villalobos, though in Mexico I am still considered Mayra Plata-Rosales. The whole marriage name thing here is different. I am 23 years of age and am currently in Mexico, pregnant with my husband’s and my first child, currently separated from my husband and family due to our broken immigration system in the USA. School Years: At the age of 2 I was taken to the US,…
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  • My Students as Americans

    | Merri Ann Drake

    I teach ESL students in our local High School. I took my students to the Define American website and shared some of the stories with them. They all want to do something now. One has submitted his story, and more are to follow. In the past they have been sheepish about calling themselves American, but they now have no problem standing up to others to simply declare, "I am American"…
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