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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  • Went to College, got my BA, volunteered in the community, working on MBA and under Deportation Proceedings

    | Anonymous

    Garden Grove, CA 11/16/11 Greetings, my name is Victor Escobar and I am a ‘DREAMer’. I have lived in the US since age 13, I am now 24. I have gone to Junior High, High School, Junior College, and College. I graduated with a 3.5 GPA in Pre-Law from Chico State University in 2009. My goal was to attend law school after graduation but was prevented due to my legal…
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  • Second generation

    | Kay Duren

    My grandfather emigrated to the USA around the turn of the century. He spent the rest of his life as a classical musician, teaching and directing choirs. He educated his two sons as an MD and DDS. They achieved the American Dream of home ownership and educated children.
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  • Restricted Dreams

    | Andrea C

    Confusion appeared on her face as a border policeman told her she was committing an illegal crime. Her small hands touched her brownish hair as her four-year-old brain tried to understand she was doing wrong. The border policeman smiled at her curiosity and innocence. After back and forth questions and answers between the four-year-old and the policeman, she finally gave up trying to understand what she was doing wrong. Instead…
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  • Neither Here nor There

    | Anonymous

    I was born here in the US, but I might as well have lived 18 years of my life as an undocumented immigrant. Why? I have been limited of living a full life because my mother is undocumented. I have been given many opportunities here, but I have had to do them alone or have had to deny them. When all my friends tell me they've gone to the Grand…
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  • Defining "American"

    | Joseph B

    When I moved to the US one the first things I was told to do was to make an American Dream. I was told that if I believed in myself, kept on track and especially work hard I could accomplish my dream. That I could accomplish anything. Because America is the Land of Opportunity. So I made my American Dream to become a doctor. Not just any doctor. But a…
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