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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  • Citizenship

    | Milton Schwartz

    Everyone in this country, outside of our native "Redskins" was a refugee from abroad. That privilege must be afforded all who now reside here. Control of future refugees must be based upon humane interests for admission to the USA.
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  • Director of the Institue of Hispanic and Latino Cultures at the University of Florida

    | Dr. Eric Castillo

    I define American not about citizenship but about the principles of justice and equality. American is something different for everybody. I don't believe that this is going to be about citizenship, or what you make, or what color your skin is. American is about how you define yourself, and what your civic and your human role is in creating an equitable, just, and affirming society for all people.
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  • I am an Ecuadorian Immigrant and I...

    | Maria

    I define American as process, betterment, and equality.
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  • America is a Political Concept

    | Anonymous

    Looking at the beautiful ball called Earth floating in space from the distance of a satellite, we don't see "America", or "Canada", we see large masses of land surrounded by larger masses of water. So who decided the "boundaries" that constitutes "America". Politicians did. America is where a group of humans called politicians who the rest of the population have somehow given the right to initiate the use of coercion…
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