#AllAmerican Portraits: Lillian

First name: Lillian

What does it mean to be American?

Growing up as a Korean American, I have always seen the “American” portion of my identity as a simple explanation to others stating that I was born in the USA. It was not until my twenties that I started realizing there were certain characteristics of myself that I categorized as the “American” side of me. Naturally, I am an introvert, shy, and do not like the lime light very much–traits that are stereotypically categorized as Asian. While I am naturally quiet, I am quite active and vocal when it comes to certain things that I am very passionate about in life–the American side of me. For example, when I became very active in fighting to relocate North Korean refugees, there were a lot of adults that were concerned for my safety and told me to stop and just “stay quiet.” Asians are always the “model Americans,” because we are taught to keep our heads down, blend, not cause attention, and just focus on ourselves. I guess to me, being American is about standing up for others, fighting for our beliefs, and trying to lend a helping hand when we can; using our privileges to help others that are not as privileged as us or in need of help.
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#AllAmerican Portraits: Raymond

First name: Raymond

What does it mean to be American?

To be an American means to embody the Latin phrase, E Pluribus Unum—out of many, one. America is a place where people from all over the world come together in search of a better life and better opportunities. America is a land known for its diversity in race, ethnicity, beliefs, values, and every other way imaginable. To be an American means to be respectful, tolerant, and accepting of people that are different from us.

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#AllAmerican Portraits: Lindsay

First name: Lindsay

What does it mean to be American?

Being able to claim American citizenship but having been born and raised elsewhere, I find this a difficult question to answer. I prefer to consider myself (pardon the cliche) a citizen of the world. Technology has made the world smaller and more accessible. Once we’ve finished destroying the earth, we’ll all be in the same boat and no one is going to be saved over another. Instead of civic duty, I think we all have a global duty to be caring, compassionate, open-minded, less greedy, and less focused on our little patch in the sun.
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#AllAmerican Portraits: Nia

First name: Nia

What does it mean to be American?

As a daughter and granddaughter of navy men, I believe being an American means serving for the greater good. Being an American means having the freedom and autonomy to make your own religious, occupational, and educational decisions. It means everyone should have the opportunity to achieve success, but as a black women, it also means that I am restricted from having the same opportunities for success as cis male, white Americans. Continue reading “#AllAmerican Portraits: Nia”

#AllAmerican Portraits: DACA Recipient

First name:

Participant has chosen for identity to remain anonymous

What does it mean to be American?

I had up until recently believed that to be American meant that I needed a card or a piece of paper telling me that I was. Now, I believe it’s very different from that. I believe it’s simply the participation in the American culture, whatever it may be, be it the language, the art, the “American value” of hard work, the families, the food, the diversity, etc. America is so much more than just a piece of paper, and the piece of paper it was founded upon.
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#AllAmerican Portraits: Sabrina

First name: Sabrina

What does it mean to be American?

At this moment, all being an American means to me is living in the United States of America.  Living here has afforded me great opportunities and freedoms; however, I know my experience is not universal. While I think differences are what ultimately make a society amazing, I believe being an American should mean everyone living here be provided with the same basic rights and freedoms.

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