What’s your American story? That’s the question we’re asking people and communities across the United States throughout Immigrant Heritage Month. Whether you can trace your American roots back many decades – or even centuries! – or you came to this country this year in search of a new opportunity, your experience is part of our collective American story.
As a co-founder of Immigrant Heritage Month, I feel incredibly proud to partner with the fantastic community partners and public offices that make June a 30-day whirlwind of celebration and storytelling. This year is especially exciting because so many people have shared their story and contributed to an exciting nationwide story sharing campaign that included The White House, Disney Channel’s rising star Zendaya Coleman, and President Obama.
As a native New Yorker, one of the stories that really resonated with me was, of course, from New York. Daniel and Dom have completely different stories – Daniel came to the U.S. when he was six, not knowing he was undocumented for many years. Dom doesn’t know where or when his family came to America – all he knows is that they came here from Africa unwillingly. Nevertheless, Daniel and Dom are building their lives together, melding their history and identities into their own unique family.
As for me, my great-great grandmother Agatha came to America from Poland and was joined shortly after by my great-great grandfather. Their daughter – my great grandmother – used to tell us the fabled story of how her father stole a horse from his parish priest in order to get to the ship on time. Once he got to the ship, he left a note on the horse to return it to the priest! Luckily for us, he made it to the ship on time, and our family has now spent quite a few generations in upstate New York.
Like most of our families, America’s heritage is complicated, and not always glamorous. As part of Immigrant Heritage Month, we’re striving to acknowledge all of the different ways people have become American, and celebrate the diversity that continues to grow in all of our communities.
We can’t wait to hear your story – will you share it now?