1. Define American, an organization that seeks to bring new voices into the immigration reform conversation, launched a campaign aligned with the release of one of the biggest summer blockbusters of the year, “Man of Steel.”
2. Define American, in conjunction with the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA), launched a Tumblr called We Are the American Way to highlight submissions from people around the country, in the spirit of Superman and his journey.
Born on Krypton, he came to this country with the promise of Hope - the symbol he bears on his chest. Many of our families also have a history of immigration. We share Superman’s hope and we continue his fight for truth, justice and the American Way.
3. Like Eduardo Jara who came to the U.S. 13 years ago.
“At the beginning I did not understand this crazy decision to leave my entire life behind, but today every time I wake up and I see my children I understand why god put me on this path. I am father of two Americans and I am very proud of them and they feel very proud to be American (USA-Peru-Uruguay).”
4. Ted McConnell, executive director at Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools says everyone is an immigrant in America.
10th-12th generation…undocumented since the early 1600s, as far as the Native Americans are concerned. (Sorry about Ancestors stealing all that land). We are ALL immigrants to this land. I am, we all are, the American Way!
6. “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.”
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.
Jose Antonio Vargas, founder of Define American and writer and director of the documentary film, “Documented,” told BuzzFeed the initiative makes sense because Define American is about elevating the immigration debate and bringing in fresh voices. “Pop culture is a huge part of our daily conversations and the new Superman movie—“Man of Steel”—is one of Hollywood’s biggest summer movies,” he says.
8. “I consider myself a hyphenated American.”
“Resting on a line that bridges two cultures and endlessly searching for a balance. By that definition, we are all immigrants — creating our own world by blending different ways of life. My family moved to the States when I was 3 and I’ve come to learn that the American way is the immigrant way.”
9. “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.
10. Christina Xu works at Breadpig, which was founded by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.
“My family moved to the U.S. when I was 7 so I could follow my dreams. Now I help awesome people follow theirs!”
11. “I am a first generation Mexican-American.”
My Dad came here for a better more prosperous future for his family. The Amnesty of 1986 allowed him to pave his way to an American Citizenship. Now both of my parents are citizens. My parents came for my brother and I. They came for their future, my future.
12. Eric Liu, former speechwriter and deputy domestic policy adviser for President Bill Clinton, joined in.
13. Gary Engle wrote an essay for Superman at Fifty: The Persistence of a Legend, entitled “What Makes Superman So Darned American?” Define American’s Vargas says the ideas in the piece underscore the campaign.
“It is impossible to imagine Superman being as popular as he is and speaking as deeply to the American character were he not an immigrant and an orphan. Immigration, of course, is the overwhelming fact in American history. Except for the Indians, all Americans have an immediate sense of their origins elsewhere. No nation on Earth has so deeply embedded in its social consciousness the imagery of passage from one social identity to another: the Mayflower of the New England separatists, the slave ships from Africa and the subsequent underground railroads toward freedom in the North, the sailing ships and steamers running shuttles across two oceans in the nineteenth century, the freedom airlifts in the twentieth. Somehow the picture just isn’t complete without Superman’s rocket ship.”