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The Journal Gazette

  • Chambers

  • Young

  • Livschiz

  • Zapari

  • McDonald

  • Salam

  • Mosier

Wednesday, July 04, 2018 1:00 am


What does it mean to be an American?

The Fourth of July is a day to reflect as well as to celebrate. We asked some thoughtful community leaders for their response to that question.

 Michelle Chambers,business owner, community activist and former Fort Wayne city clerk and City Council candidate:

“Thankful for the signing of the Declaration of Independence on this Fourth of July, which has granted me my civil liberties that I do not take for granted.”


Dr. Gohar Salam, a Fort Wayne ophthalmologist and board member and former president of Fort Wayne's Universal Education Foundation Islamic Center:

“Today, the privilege of being an American means striving, individually and collectively, to uphold the core American values of unity, equality and diversity. This status of being an American calls upon us to rise above our differences in race, color, religion and political ideology to promote tolerance, respect and love for each other.”


Ann Livschiz, an associate professor of history at Purdue University Fort Wayne:

“(For me, it means) Fear that we are watching our country regress, while too many fellow Americans are cheering on our country's descent into authoritarianism and rejection of the rule of law.”


Terry McDonald, NewHaven mayor:

“For me, to be an American is being a person with responsibility to serve my community and country and to support the highest ideals of our nation: life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. Each of us has a responsibility to be good neighbors and citizens by standing up for our ideals.”

 Todd Young, IndianaRepublican U.S. senator:

“Just as it did in 1776, being an American today means that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. Though we have differences, we are united behind the shared belief that each and every one of us has the right to live free and strive for the American dream, and each of us is also united by a solemn duty to help preserve and perpetuate this grand experiment in self-government for future generations.”


Jerrilee K. Mosier, chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College-Northeast:

“To be an American means we have the responsibility, passed on to us by our Founding Fathers, to protect the equal rights of all individuals and to preserve the freedom of our country, a country that was developed by the people, for the people.”


Fernando Zapari, editor and publisher of Fort Wayne's El Mexicano newspaper:

“Being an American means freedom of religion and great opportunities for all. It is also the most unique and diverse country in the entire world, where you can celebrate cultures (music, food, entertainment) from American/immigrants from all over the world. Being an American also means that we don't have to agree with the cruelty of political leaders putting kids inside cages and separating families.

“Gracias and God Bless America ... Viva America!”