My family Immigration American Creed

My paper is about my family history and how they immigrated to America in order to get hands on experience with new opportunity. I talk about their definition of American Creed and how they feel about it.

By Ramata M. from Royal Oak High School in Michigan

Often times, we see America as a set of ideals we have to live up to. America is seen as a place filled with opportunity and freedom. These two ideals have been seen as an advantage above all nations. Opportunity and Freedom are only two of the numerous ideals that make up the American Creed, and these values define what it means to be an American. To me, the American Creed is understanding and accepting that all Americans have certain rights and responsibilities. One of the responsibilities that we have to live up to is to be united. No matter the race, religion, sex, or ethnic background, being united is what keeps America together. This, quite frankly is why I feel as though my family immigrated to America. Each country has words, symbols, and rituals to represent themselves. America being “united” explains how our country is strong and will never be divided.

“How does your family and community history connect to your American Creed?” This right here is question that has guided me through my understanding of “American Creed”. Many of the values that inspire the American Dream include liberty, equality, and the pursuit of happiness. It doesn’t matter your sexuality, race, religion, gender, or your past history. Everyone deserves to have the same experience. My parents immigrated to America because they too believed in the previous statement. My family history connects to my American Creed because it is a history that comes from a unique background with different traditions and sacrifices that  has shaped me into the person that I am today. I interviewed my mom and my dad, Haddy Ceesay and Samba Manneh. Both of my parents are from The Gambia. Gambia is a small country on the west coast of Africa. With a population just under 2 million and a government that was on the rocks my parents felt all the need to immigrate to a nation that met their needs. The wanted a nation that had Unison, opportunity, and freedom, and they felt as if America had everything they were looking for. Recently my parents got their U.S citizenships after passing the test provided by the American government. They told me before they were able to become official U.S citizens, they had to overcome great obstacles. In the beginning of my interview with my parents, I asked them how is my generation (in America) different from their generation (living in Gambia) and he said “you 21st century kids have it easy for you. You guys have shoes to walk on when going to school. You guys have vehicles to take you guys to and from school, and have backpacks to carry your books in.  On top of that you guys have a free elementary, middle, and high school education. Growing up we weren't as lucky as you guys are. We had to walk barefoot to school (6 miles away) because our Economy in Gambia was on the rocks. We couldn’t afford backpacks because all of our money was going towards our education. This was the start of our desire to move to America.” My mom nodded in agreement. They told me how they moved here on visas and how they struggled for bit because they were not use to the American culture. They weren’t use to having jobs and making money just to give it all away to bills and money they owed. Towards the end of our interview I asked them if there were  any other reasons for why they decided to move to America and  they both agreed upon the statement made by my dad. “For you guys.” He said.  “Our kids. America is a land of opportunity and the land of freedom and we wanted our children to get hands on first experience on it. We wanted you guys to experience life to the fullest and we thought bringing you guys to America would fulfill that. That is our American creed.” I came up with the idea to interview my grandmother who has stayed her whole life in Gambia. She is my only relative that has spent her whole life, and will continue to spend her life in the homeland. I used an app called “WHATSAPP” to get a hold of her. She unlike my parents had a different switch up. She on the other hand actually sees America differently. She has a different interpretation on what an American Creed is. I told her my definition of an American creed: “The American Creed is a statement of the defining element of American identity. It’s who you are as an American.” And she replied back with a simple no. I asked her why she felt this way and she said that she feels as though you can’t grow up, mature and become the person you are in a certain area and switch it all up just for a change in environment. She feels as though that’s not what an American creed is. She feels as though American Creed is for Americans only. She really surprised for with her change in say on this topic and made me see the project a lot differently. Throughout this whole project, I’m glad I was able to understand the different ways people see America. It has taught me a lot about our country and how there is more to it then just red, white, and blue. 

Royal Oak High School

AP Lang 2019

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Writing Our Future: American Creed is part of the National Writing Project’s family of youth publishing projects, all gathered under the Writing Our Future initiative.

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