Candace Ledingham-Ramos - Define American

Candace Ledingham-Ramos

Portland, OR

My definition will be different than others’, but a part of my definition of being American involves defending those others to have their own definitions. I revel in knowing that we all think differently as a consequence of our experiences and choices. The opportunity to be ourselves, seeking our own outcomes is extremely important. There are no guarantees, but we all have the right to pursue what makes us alive, free, and happy. Standing by and allowing others to steal the rights of individuals or groups of people cannot be tolerated. As we are each individuals, yet members of different groups, we must be ready to defend the rights of all people, not just one’s own group, or a privileged few. With regard to who gets to be American, we must remember who was here first, and that those of us who came afterwards are all immigrants, without exception. Compassion and welcoming arms ought to be extended for those who follow, hopefully just as when each of our predecessors arrived.

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It's time for a new conversation about immigration in America, and it starts with us.

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