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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  • Undocumented For 16 Years

    | Andrés Benigno

    In 1989, when I was four years old, my family immigrated to the United States. My parents were both architects. My dad specialized in skyscrapers. As professionals, they had experienced so much corruption that in paying fees to politicians and contractors just to find a project and complete it, they generally lost more money than they made. They wanted a better life for themselves and for us. So we immigrated…
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  • From here and from there...

    | Anonymous

    I was the first in my family to go to high school and receive a diploma and the only one who has gone further on to college. My parents immigrated into the United States, like many other families, seeking for job opportunities that would allow them to provide my brothers and I with choices they did not have. I began my college education knowing of the importance of social justice…
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  • American Dream "failed" act

    | Anonymous

    All the American dream for me started even before I was born, in 1985 my dad came to live in the United States, (those times we didn't had money to apply for a visa, first time he arrived in the United States was with a fake passport and a fake visa, one of his colleague's land him passport and they just changed the photo), trying to make for my mom…
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  • When I Grow Up

    | Anonymous

    When I grow up I want to be someone, like my parents. They were both profes[s]ionals back in their countries -- my father an engineer and my mother a teacher. I want to be an engineer, just like my dad. I enjoy tinkering with things and like to learn. When I become a parent I want my kids to get further in life than me, just like my parents want…
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  • I want the law to work for all of us

    | Hector V

    This November, it will be 10 years since I arrived in the U.S -- 10 years of being undocumented. November will be a month of reflection. What have I accomplished? What will come next? In 10 years, I've graduated high school, earned a B.A. with honors, and now I'm half-way through obtaining my law degree. However, unless the Federal government comes to an agreement as to how to embrace the…
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