Alyssa Akiyama

Alyssa Akiyama

Hilo, HI

I am from an island, an island in the middle of the pacific ocean. I am also a college student, attending a University in the mainland. I get asked if I am “from here” or if I am a foreigner, often. I get asked if I am American. I don’t truly know what it means to be American. And that’s okay.

I am from Hawai’i. Now, I am not a native hawaiian nor do I define myself as one, but that is where I am from and they are claimed as a part of the United States. Although the islands were taken illegally, that still makes me, along with the people there American. Being American is not only being from the mainland, or from the original 13 colonies, it is NOT being shallow.

Being American is being accepting of who everyone else is and where they came from, no matter where they came from. Being american is being accepting of how people define themselves, and definitely being accepting of who they are trying to be. Being American is searching for opportunity, being able to achieve success, achieve happiness, regardless of your belief or income. Being American is the saying “you can make it if you try”.

I still truly don’t know what it means to be American.. And that’s okay.

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