What Does It Mean To Be An American Now? Here’s What You Told Us

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Photo: American Flag, Nuggets-Pacers Game, January 2016
Rolling out the American flag at a Nuggets-Pacers NBA game in January 2016.

This election season, we’re exploring how Coloradans define citizenship and belonging in the United States: What does it mean to be an American? This is part of our work with the NPR project A Nation Engaged.

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What Does It Mean To Be An American?

“The freedom to choose one’s path, having nothing dictated to us.”

--Samuel Lance, Denver

“The freedom to advance yourself. Myself and my siblings were the first generation to graduate college with the support of affordable student loans.”

--Sharon O’Leary, Denver

“As a naturalized American citizen, I believe each citizen of a country has certain responsibilities. Our responsibility to do well for ourselves and for our neighbors so that our country can be prosperous and progress. We have a responsibility to be involved in our government.”

--Keisha Clark, Denver

“As a Muslim American I feel that what it means to be American now is that you’re white and you’re Caucasian. Unfortunately I was born and raised in this country, the only country I’ve ever visited was Mexico. This is how increasingly minorities feel. Muslim Americans make up your doctors, you engineers, lawyers, journalists, your teachers, but all we mean to both parties is our tools to fight terrorism, even though our purpose in this country is much greater than that and it’s not even paid attention to, or appreciated by either party.”

--Mehdi Khan, Aurora

“To be an America means we have an opportunity that we’ve been blessed with to live in and enjoy the benefits of a free country that folks have sacrificed for to make possible for the majority.”

--Brodie Wright, Berthoud