Define American

Using the power of story to transcend politics and shift the conversation around citizenship


My Awakening to the history of immigration and my own family's history

| Richard Pellegrino

I am very typical of the baby boomer Americans-mid-50's, born here as a third generation descendant of Italian immigrants, who I thought, like millions others believe, came here "legally". When in 2006 my family and I got tired of all the "immigrant bashing" in Georgia and decided to start a family initiative to welcome them to our communities (which quickly became a "movement"), I was surprised by the backlash and myths thrown at us by misinformed friends, family and community members. Doing my own research to counter these myths I learned that my own Italian grandparents did not come here legally as did tens of thousands of other Italian and European immigrants. As a founder of the Cobb (County) Immigrant Alliance (the CIA:-) I continue to educate people about the true history of America and immigration, and to help others welcome this new wave of immigrants which will help this country fulfill its destiny as the land of "unity in diversity" and the "beloved community" which Dr. King spoke about. I also wrote a book entitled "Immigrant Survival Manual" for both new immigrants and the rest of us immigrants so we don't forget where we came from and how we got here. (Feel free to contact me for a free copy.)
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