In June 2011, Jose Antonio Vargas wrote an unfiltered essay in the New York Times Magazine about his experience as an undocumented American in the hopes that someone would listen, would care, would question our broken immigration system. The result? A movement of communities, individuals and organizations coming together not just to question, but to take action.
Since our founding in 2011, Define American has used the power of story to transcend politics and shift the cultural conversation about immigration, identity and citizenship in America. Politics is driven by culture, and we're convinced that facts and policies aren't enough. We need culture and media around immigration and citizenship to catch up to the politics and policy around immigration.
In just three years our campaign has had more impact on the media's coverage of immigration and on debate in the highest political circles than any other campaign of the last decade–and now we've grown from an all volunteer campaign, into a national non-profit organization.
We are telling the incredible, compelling, inspiring and authentic stories that are not currently being read, heard seen or told in the mainstream outlets of media and art. Define American is telling America's whole story!
Our major victories are widely regarded by strategist, activist, media personalities and political leaders as genuinely game changing. We were inspired as TIME magazine highlighted the importance of immigrants in our culture, as the Associated Press officially stopped using the word "illegal” when referring to people, as celebrities actively discussed their concept of citizenship, and as countless others publicly came out as undocumented. We harnessed the energy of those around us through over 250 events in 44 states to hear from people with varied stories and opinions just how complicated our immigration system is. And we produced and proudly screened Documented in theaters around the country, and soon on CNN, reaching wider audiences and widening the debate.
Thank you for joining us at Define American on this incredible journey so far. But it's not lost on us how much farther we have yet to go. Here's to more conversation, more change, and more forward movement on the journey to come.
Please join us in that journey, and help fund the movement to define "American."