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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  • White, male, and a retired navy chief petty officer

    | Gregg Martin

    I am 52 years old, white, male, and a retired navy chief petty officer. Although always aware of the need for change in our country’s immigration system, my interest started becoming acute after I heard about the Bracero Program that started at the beginning of World War II and lasted until 1964. The program came about when the United States approached Mexico for help during the critical labor shortage caused…
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  • Who is the American?

    | Ed Sartor

    While I was born in this country, many of my friends and teammates on my soccer team were not. There are thousands of hard-working Americans who put in every effort to support American ideals and follow the laws to the letter. On the other hand, there are also thousands of kids who are naturalized citizens who become involved in drug dealing, degradation of women, and fighting for no good reason…
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  • Who is a "Real American?"

    | Anonymous

    I have had an enormous amount of people ask me “What are you? Where are you from?” When people ask this, they are referring to my ethnicity, and/or race. I have had a full range of different people guess different ethnicities all based on what I look like; but I have never had anyone tell me I look “American;” which is one way I could identify myself if I really…
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  • I'm an American!

    | Yenny Quispe

    Couple days ago I asked my brother; "How do you define American" and he replied: "Being a human being." I laughed because in a way it was funny, but then in a way he was right. Being an American for me is not just loving being here or feeling to be part of America, but being considered as a human being. What I mean is to be considered and be…
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  • My American Dream

    | Anonymous

    I am a naturalized U.S. Citizen. My boyfriend of 6 years is an undocumented immigrant from Costa Rica. We plan on getting married and having a family soon. However, that dream-- the simple dream of having a family in the country where I was born, is threatened because he can't become "legal". Everyone asks, "why don't you just get married and then you he can get a green card?" Umm...…
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