24th #AllAmerican Portrait: Nicolas

First name: Nicolas

What does it mean to be American?

Being American involves the suspension of disbelief, a dream state of hopes.
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22nd #AllAmerican Portrait: Stephanie

First name: Stephanie Cho

What does it mean to be American?

For me, what it means to be American is complicated. The whole reason I’m in America is the result of U.S. imperialism. So, it’s confusing to me to answer the question, “What does it mean to be American?” I am a product of both countries–Korea and America.

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21st #AllAmerican Portrait: Esther

First name: Esther

What does it mean to be American?

I believe that to be American is to be fundamentally tied to the struggles, the suffering, and the triumphs that compose the U.S. and its systems, culture, politics, and history. Americanness manifests in about as many forms as there are people in this country, but the common denominator lies in having been shaped by America – this weird, often dissonant, sometimes insidiously or beautifully harmonious amalgam of institutions, ideologies, peoples, and cultures, oppressive or resistive, public or private. We, as Americans, have identities born from and continually molded by the ways in which we interact and engage – not always consciously and not always of our own volition – with it. Continue reading “21st #AllAmerican Portrait: Esther”

19th #AllAmerican Portrait: JJ

First name: JJ*

What does it mean to be American?

Being American means constantly coming to terms with our country’s past and present litany of injustices and figuring out how best to confront them; to constantly be honest with yourself and others around you about the inequalities that exist in this country and our role in perpetuating them; and finally, to always have the courage to stand up for what is right/be a social justice warrior at home and beyond.
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18th #AllAmerican Portrait: Sabrina (II)

First name: Sabrina

What does it mean to be American?

Being American is about all coming together with a mindset to be united. I believe it is to be proud of of where you come from and cherishing the diversity we have in this country. It’s about staying together and lifting each other up in any event despite political views. It is to treat everyone with equal respect, an open mind and with a kind heart. Continue reading “18th #AllAmerican Portrait: Sabrina (II)”

17th #AllAmerican Portrait: Lalit/Choice

First name: Lalit (aka, Choice)

What does it mean to be American?

To be American is to be kind, to be nice, to be all-inclusive. To work as a team towards one goal: to better America–from everyday life to the nation as a whole. To be patriotic as lovers of America, and to be humble even though we know a good part of the world looks up to us, to keep on striving for excellence for future Americans and the impact we have on the world as America.
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15th #AllAmerican Portrait: 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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