wearetheamericanway

My name is Claudia.

I was born in Honduras. My father is a Cuban exile. We came to America when I was a child because we sought safety, freedom, and a brighter future. We sought a place where we didn’t have to fear for our lives on a daily basis.

I am boundlessly thankful for living here every single day. It’s been fourteen years - a time replete with struggles and obstacles. This is where I’ve grown up, where I’ve learned English, where I’ve learned everything. I mean, home is definitely where you read your first Harry Potter book, right?

Despite this, there are many people who argue that we’re not American, that we “need to go back home.” But after fighting so hard to come here and stay here? This is home. We are Americans.

I am the American way.

(ravenclawdia. wizard. possibly a superhero.)

Memeographs supports the “Superman Is An Immigrant" Tumblr meme for immigration reform. See it here: http://wearetheamericanway.tumblr.com/

Some of my family arrived in New York from Wales in 1764, before  America was even America.

Some came later, to escape poverty and famine, and were greeted on these shores with “Irish Need Not Apply” signs.

Nearly every day, I think how fortunate I am to live in the great American melting pot of New York City. 

I cherish my dear friends who’ve come from all over the world; places like the Caribbean,  Europe, Central and South America and elsewhere and enriched my life with their own life stories. 

I am the American Way.

I’m Julian Gomez, 20 years old. My parents brought my sisters and I to the United States from Argentina when I was just under 2 years old, so I’ve grown up here, made all my friends here, gone to school here, and just about lived my whole life here. In January 2013, I received Deferred Action (DACA). Before then, I was considered undocumented; I couldn’t get a license, much less a social security number, as far as the U.S. government was concerned, I didn’t exist. Even now that I’m “DACAmented,” I’m in some weird temporary limbo where I have employment authorization for 2 years, but I’m still not considered an American by law. I recently graduated with an Associate degree from the Honors College at Miami Dade College with a 3.89 GPA, where I was paying out-of-state tuition even though I took the bus to school every day from the house my parents bought 11 years ago. I’ve been accepted to four universities to finish my Bachelor’s in Film, but all of them consider me an international student and can only offer me limited scholarship. So now I’m applying for a $45,000 private loan so I can transfer to, ironically, American University in Wahington, D.C., because I’m not eligible for any federal loans or grants, despite my financial need and academic success. If nothing changes from now to when I graduate in 2 years, I’ll be a recent graduate with at least $90,000 in student loan debt. This is because the country I’ve called home for the last 18 years doesn’t consider me a part of it. Despite this, I’m a privileged DREAMer, because of the over 65,000 undocumented students that graduate from American high schools every year, only 5% can afford to go to college. I urge you to support immigration reform, it is the American way.

My great-grandfather immigrated to the U.S. to escape the terrible conditions of the coal mines in Wales. Here, he met my great-grandmother, another Welsh immigrant. I am proud of my heritage, but I know my great-grandpa only survived because of the hope and promise of new beginnings that America offered. That hopes needs to stay alive. 

WE ARE THE AMERICAN WAY.

My family lineage is so varied and complex that many of the facts have been lost over the generations. Family lore ranges from ancestors on the Mayflower to a great-great-great Irish grandmother standing down Al Capone for ownership of a speakeasy. I don’t know fact versus fiction. I’m not certain of all the cultures that make up my family history, nor am I certain how or when each of my ancestors first came to the United States. My Irish grandmother married my Polish grandfather, but my grandmother on my dad’s side is partially German. What does that make me?

I don’t have an identity that is tied to my heritage. I am the American Way.

Mike Lux, Co-Founder and President of Progressive Strategies, L.L.C.

Former Senior Vice President for Political Action at People For the American Way and served in the Clinton White House as a Special Assistant to the President for Public Liaison.

My ancestors immigrated to America starting in about 1790 from Ireland and Scotland, setting in Tennessee, and then another set of them came from Germany and Alsace-Lorain in the middle and late 1800s and settled in Nebraska. A great-grandfather and great-grandmother (my father’s mom’s parents) were the most recent immigrants, in the 1890s. 

I am the American Way.