Define American

Transcending politics through a new conversation

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  • Mother in Law's story

    | Marian Cruz

    My mother in law was born in what is now AZ. When she was born it was not a state. She was a very conscientious person and voted in every election. When she was 65 and applied for State benefits, she was told the I D she had was not valid. It took months to straighten this out and finally, her marriage certificate stated she was born in AZ.…

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  • We Need Immigration Reform Now!

    | April Vargas

    My father immigrated to America when he was 11 years old. My maternal grandmother came to this country in her twenties. They contributed to the United States through their work, the taxes they paid and the values they taught their families. The same is true today. We need immigration reform that respects and strengthens families, encourages civic engagement and provides equal educational and career opportunities for all. America can't…

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  • Free, Equal, Self-Determination

    | Bill Combs

    The Founders created the definition of an American as one "endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights," with a government instituted to protect those equal and individual rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our Nation has not always lived up to these goals, with, for example, our ignominious treatment of the country's blacks and native Americans. What makes an American unique in the world though,…

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  • How I Define American

    | Denise Waldron

    My definition of "American" is someone who transforms adversity into achievement. I do not know anyone more skilled in this endeavor than undocumented immigrants. That is why I sing extra loud "home of the brave" whenever I have the occasion to sing the American Anthem. I am showing respect for them. When we can say, "America is the home of the free," it will be because of their contribution.

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  • My Grandmother at Sixteen

    | Corey Fischer

    My grandmother, Celia Pastornak, arrived in this country, fleeing the violent racism of early 20th century Russia when she was sixteen. The two things that most impressed her about her new country were the library where she could borrow all the books she wanted for free and the kindness and generosity of the other young women - mostly American-born gentiles - she worked with in a coat factory in…

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