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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  • Love knows no borders

    | Anonymous

    My husband and I have been together for 9 years and have a 6 year old little boy together. I had moved away from home for a couple of years and met my husband who I instantly fell in love with. I believe that God took us both thousands of miles away from home to meet each other. That was the beginning of a beautiful life together. Beautiful but also…
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  • After Serving for 10 Years...

    | Elizabeth Wood

    To me, being an American is being a part of the greatest place on Earth. After serving my country in the military for ten years and going abroad for much of that time, I realized how much I really love this place. I am so grateful to call this country home. Every morning when I woke up and laced my boots I felt a huge sense of pride. I would…
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  • Family facing devastation and separation

    | Jesina Lopez

    My story begins before I was even born. My mom(an American citizen) married my dad, that at the time was an "illegal immigrant" from Mexico. My dad worked very hard (and still does) in the fields since he first came here. He obtained his Resident card 35-40 plus years ago thru his employer. When I was old enough to walk, talk and hold a strawberry pint basket I helped my…
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  • Passport to Heaven

    | Anonymous

    Everyone has a story and It seems like I have two- the real one and the superficial one. My story is lived by 2 million Americans- well, not so American. I am 24 years old and have been residing in the United States illegally since I was 8. This fact has shaped the way I have lived my life, but not the way I have dreamed about it. When I…
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  • Making American Inclusive

    | Eric Suchman

    To me, the issue of defining an American is inclusive. Anyone who lives in America, grows up in America, participates in American society or government is an America. For that matter, anyone who considers him or herself to be an American is an American. Unfortunately, as a nation we often define an American in an exclusive, rather than inclusive manner. We ask ourselves, Who is not an American? Do you…
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