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American Like Me: CU Families Edition: About the Essays & Contributors

This guide extends the 2021-2022 CU One Read conversation around the book American Like Me to CU and Community Families.

Quotes from the stories

I just don't like being hungry or checking off a list of things I can't do. And when it comes to Ramadan, you can't eat, drink, have sex, or even think ungenerous thoughts for an entire month. You also have to pray a lot. Which I didn't do, outside of 'I pray they don't serve Domino's for lunch, Lord Allah, because I may be tempted.

Issa Rae

The average height in America is two inches taller than in Pakistan. In Pakistan I was one of the taller people. And now suddenly I was shorter than most people. It wasn't like I was in a land of giants, because it's only two inches. It was more like I was standing in a ditch…that moved with me.

Kumail Nanjiani

[My mother] enrolled me in Catholic elementary school in Queens…. [She] marched right into the principal's office at drop-off to explain that…they were to exempt me from as much of the biblical religiosity as possible. I was relegated to sitting in 'Siberia'—at the back of the church—as my classmates rehearsed for their First Communion.

Padma Lakshmi

Most first-generation kids are familiar with the negotiations of who we are at home and who we are in the wider world. On the whole, I’m the better for it. I am better for the benefit of enjoying diverse cultural experiences and knowing exactly where I come from.

Roxane Gay

 I realized the best part of me is how I stood out from the crowd.

Joy Cho

  My immigrant parents taught me to believe in the American dream. And immigration is part of the American fabric. Our stories matter.

Diane Guerrero

In my community, we didn't see ourselves as just singular individuals or singular families. We were connected to something bigger. There was and still is a collective that we all feel like we are a part of. It was not just logistics --- it was a way of thinking.

Linda Sarsour


Reshma Saujani, CEO of Girls Who Code Auli’i Cravalho, Singer & Actress

Al Madrigal, Comedian & Actor

Jeremy Lin, NBA Basketball Player

Jenny Zhang, Poet & Writer

America Ferrera, Actress
Bambadjan Bamba, Actor Ravi V. Patel, Actor
Padma Lakshmi, Television Host Lin-Manuel Miranda, Actor & Singer
Randall Park, Actor Tanaya Winder, Poet, Writer, & Artist
Roxane Gay, Author Wilmer Valderrama, Actor
Carmen Perez, Executive Director, The Gathering for Justice Anna Akana, Actress & YouTuber
Issa Rae, Actress, Writer, & Producer Kal Penn, Actor & White House Aide
Diane Guerrero, Activist & Actress Laurie Hernandez, Olympic Gymnast
Joy Cho, Founder of Oh Joy! Martin Sensmeier, Actor
Liza Koshy, Actress & YouTuber Anjelah Johnson-Reyes, Comedian
Kumail Nanjiani, Actor Carmen Carrera, Model & Transgender Rights Activist
Michelle Kwan, Olympic Figure Skater Uzo Aduba, Actress
Geena Rocero, Model & Host Linda Sarsour, Civil Rights Activist
Frank Waln, Hip-hop Artist Joaquin Castro, U.S. Congressman

Featured contributors

Selected Titles by Contributors

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