I'm An American

Teran Powell

Before meeting Moshe Katz, I don’t know if I ever considered “American Jew” and “Jewish American” to be different identities. But Katz says Jewish people are often asked which label represents them. For him, he says the answer is both.

"There are days of the week, or hours of the day, or seconds I respond to something that says, 'I’m a Jewish American.' There are certain things that the way I live my life is 'Jewishly' as an American. There are also days where I live my life as an American, who happens to be Jewish," Katz explains.

Andrew Trumbull / Burmese Rohingya Community of Wisconsin

The latest installment of I’m An American tells the story of a Rohingya man. The series explores what it means to be an American for people from underrepresented groups. It also gives them the chance to share their stories about their racial and ethnic identities.

I met Anuwar Kasim on a chilly Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee. It was at the headquarters of the Burmese Rohingya Community of Wisconsin (BRCW) on Howell near Layton Boulevard.

Teran Powell

Since the beginning of the year, our I’m An American series has featured the stories of Muslim, Hispanic and Hmong people, who’ve talked about how the label “American” fits into their identity. Now, we hear from a Native American man who offers another unique perspective.

I first met Michael Zimmerman at the Indian Community School in Franklin, where he was teaching a biweekly Ojibwe Language course.

Teran Powell

If you ask a group of people what it means to be an American, or whether they consider American to be part of their identity, the answer can vary. You may even run into someone who isn't quite sure how to answer.

That was the case for Ramiro Castillo — a Hispanic man in New Berlin who’s featured in the latest installment of our I'm An American series.

Husband. Father. Owner of his own construction company. Community activist. These are just a few of the words that I came to realize describe Ramiro Castillo.

If you ask a group of people what it means to be an American, you might get a different answer from each person.

That’s what Race & Ethnicity reporter Teran Powell is exploring for people from underrepresented groups in our series, I’m An American.

This time, she talks to a Hmong woman whose family journey to the United States tells a similar story of many Hmong families who came to this country in search of new opportunities.

Teran Powell

If you ask a group of people what it means to be an American, you might get a different answer from each person. For instance, responses based on someone's political beliefs, family history, military record, or other life experience.

But what does it mean to be an American for people from underrepresented groups in an era when civility and tolerance are sometimes in short supply?