[Congressional Record: August 2, 2001 (Senate)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
NATION OF IMMIGRANTS
Mr. KENNEDY. Madam President, each year the American Immigration Law
Foundation and the American Immigration Lawyers Association sponsor a
national writing contest on immigration. Thousands of fifth grade
students across the country participate in the competition, answering
the question, ``Why I'm Glad America is a Nation of Immigrants.''
In fact, ``A Nation of Immigrants'' was the title of a book that
President Kennedy wrote in 1958, when he was a Senator. In this book,
and throughout his life, he honored America's heritage and history of
immigration as a principal source of the Nation's progress and
I had the privilege of serving as one of the judges for this year's
contest, and was very impressed by the young writers. In their essays,
they showed great pride in the Nation's diversity and its immigrant
heritage, and many students told the story of their own family's
The winner of this year's contest is Crystal D. Armstead, a fifth
grader from Philadelphia. In her essay, she reminds us of America's
immigrant foundation and the importance of honoring our diversity. She
describes how immigration has affected her family and how it enriches
her life today. Other students honored for their creative essays were
Robert Banovic of Pittsburgh, PA, Megan Imrie of Orland Park, IL,
Carter Jones of Huntington Beach, CA, and Amanda Tabata of Honolulu,
I believe that these award-winning essays in the ``Celebrate
America'' contest will be of interest to all of us in the Senate, and I
ask unanimous consent they be printed in the Record.
There being no objection the material was ordered to be printed in
the Record, as follows:
Grand Prize Winner, Crystal D. Armstead, Philadelphia, PA
Reasons Why I'm Glad America is a Nation of Immigrants:
The United States has the largest immigration population in
the world. There are two types of immigrants today. Those who
are running from something, and those who are running to
something. In the early 1600's there was a third reason.
Africans were brought to America against their will as
slaves. Africans had no choice but to become part of American
culture. Today, African Americans have freedom to leave, but
are so much a part of the American society that we remain a
part of this country. I'm part of the American melting pot.
My school is an example of America in 2001. There are at
least thirty countries represented in my school.
Some of the children in my school don't speak English, or
speak very little English. In the classroom, they sometimes
have a translator. In the lunchroom and in the school yard,
language is not a problem. We play tag, jump rope, and run
around the school yard. We need no translators. It is a
privilege to go to school with so many cultures.
In the fourth grade, everyone researched their culture and
country of origin. My ancestors came from Africa. They
weren't treated well, but today I'm able to attend one of the
best schools in Philadelphia. I was proud when my grandmother
shared stories from Africa.
We finished the project with an international lunch. We
enjoyed dishes and wore clothes from our country of origin.
Finalist, Robert Banovic, Pittsburgh, PA
My Road to America
When the war started, I was four years old. I lived with my
mom, dad, grandmother, and grandfather. One day my dad went
to the war. My mom said that he would come back soon but he
As we sat down to eat one day, the shaking and screaming
began. There was dust all over. They threw a grenade in my
house and killed my grandfather who I loved a lot. The door
and bricks fell on me. Everywhere around me were dead
people--men, women, and children. The war didn't choose.
My uncle took my mom, grandmother, and me to another city.
From there we moved on again but my mom didn't come because
she was trapped in the city we came from. My grandmother died
three months later and I was left with a woman I didn't even
know. I didn't see my mom for six months. When she came, the
war was still going on but I didn't care, at least I had my
mom. My dad was gone, my grandfather and grandmother, too--
all of them died in one year.
When my mom and I came to the United States, it was hard
and we cried a lot. We didn't have any friends and we didn't
know how to speak English. But we have a lot more here than
we did in Bosnia. Most of all we have freedom. Now I'm one
happy kid who is glad we are here!
Finalist, Megan Imrie, Orland Park, IL
This is a true story. It is to show why I am glad America
is a nation of immigrants.
My great-grandfather was an immigrant from Italy. In the
1930s people did not get paid much and had to work very long
hours. His name was Liberio. When people became tired with
the way their bosses treated them, they picketed for unions.
Liberio and his co-workers were among these workers. Liberio
was their leader. One day during a picket, the police
arrested him and his co-workers. When it was Liberio's turn
to be questioned, the police asked why they were picketing,
since this is America. Then Liberio said: ``I know all about
America. My name is Liberio and it means liberty. I have
three sons. My first son is named Salvatore, which means
salvation. America gives salvation to people who are poor,
hungry, persecuted or even in danger. My next son's name is
Victory, which means victory. Victory stands for America
because we are victorious over depression and hardships and
other countries that are against our way of life. My last
son's name is Frank which means freedom. Freedom is America.
Its people can believe, can live and dream however they
choose. Do not tell me I do not know what America is.'' When
the police heard this, they let my great-grandfather and his
companions go. I feel that this is very important because it
made many understand what America is.
Finalist, Carter Jones, Huntington Beach, CA
America as a Quilt
I like to think of America As a huge quilt, Each person
acting as A small thread, Each person's character Describes
the color Of each thread. Each person's appearance Determines
the texture Of each thread. Each family acts as A group of
threads. Each family's love For each other Determines how the
Threads are placed. When a marriage occurs Two more threads
Are woven together. When all the families Are woven together,
It makes a very Unique fabric.
As the fabric grows, It forms quilt pieces That form a
Complete quilt. Each family has its Own unique pattern That
determines the Way the quilt Patches will look. If you were
To take other Country's quilts and Compare them to The United
States' Quilt, you would Get a very different Product because
Of different foods And different Traditions of each Country
in the world. The United States
Quilt would have A very different Texture and color Than any
other Country in the world. All the different Characteristics
and skin Colors of people Around the world Make our quilt
If you were to Look at the United States' Quilt, really
Study it, you Would find Characteristics Of all the other
Countries on it.
People have Immigrated here From other countries, And
because of that, Each quilt patch Is different from The next
quilt patch. Immigrants from Countries other than The United
States Bring different foods And traditions, which Change the
colors and Textures of the United States' beautiful And
Finalist, Amanda Tabata, Honolulu, HI
I'm proud to live in a place with many immigrants.
Many people get to share customs, traditions, history,
language, and many more things.
Many people do not know how lucky they are to live in a
place with many immigrants.
I can learn many things about a culture from one another.
Give thanks because you live in a wonderful diverse, and
Really take the time to experience, and learn about all of
the cultures, history, tradition, religions and many more
Always be proud of who you are, what culture you are, and
where you come from.
Nurture, and create an appreciation for all cultures.
Together we stand in a community of different cultures, so
we are strong.
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