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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  • What I learned from teaching interpersonal communications

    | Afi Scruggs

    Whenever you teach, you learn. I wasn't thrilled about teaching interpersonal communications until I realized the book I'd been assigned had a multicultural approach. Then preparing for my lectures became absorbing and fascinating. But my definition of American was solidified when I read the chapter on power hierarchies. That's when I learned that Americans, almost more than any other society, worship the notion of individuality. As I pondered, I realized…
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  • A Matter of Faith

    | Anonymous

    My mother came here with $5 in her pocket. She believed that through hardwork, sacrifice, and a commitment to personal responsibility she would succeed. Everyday she wakes up at 5 am and abides by those values, sometimes working two jobs to make ends meet and to provide a good education to me and my younger sister. After five years of separation, my mom decided that it was time for me…
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  • What is a good American?

    | Walter Barger

    To me, "American" represents the values that I was raised with that define our society. Growing up in the South, I learned from my family and school that America stands for Freedom and Democracy. I learned from my church about Love, that God gave his son to bear all of our sins, and Justice, that we are to love others as God has loved us. A good American is one…
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  • America

    | Jerry W

    America: Accepting what is comparatively very good, and throwing aside the imaginary hope for what is "perfect". American: Succeed or fail, just let ME do it. The American values system can be summed up by three phrases found on every American coin: "Liberty", "In God We Trust", "E Pluribus Unum"
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  • A hard choice

    | Anonymous

    Four generations ago two German brothers Ernest and Herman, 15 and 17 years old, left everything they knew and everyone they loved in order to avoid the draft of the Germa army, and to find a better life in America. They stowed away on a ship, trekked across the country and then in 1893 took part in the largest land run in history. This sounds like a book or movie,…
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