Why Superman Just Became the Poster Boy for Immigration Reform


One of the biggest summer blockbusters opened this week. The latest Superman movie, Man of Steel, is expected to earn $125 million by Monday morning’s tally.

But at the same time the Hollywood marketing machine is doing its full-court blitz on the American public, two organizations are waging their own Superman-themed campaign in order to change the way American audiences view immigration.

Superman Is an Immigrant” is a campaign started by Define American and the Harry Potter Alliance, which hopes to reimagine the way immigrants are viewed in this country.

Though it’s not affiliated with the movie, the campaign was launched in conjunction with it in order to highlight one simple message: Immigration isn’t an “us versus them” proposition.

The campaign’s Tumblr states:

Born on Krypton, he came to this country with the promise of Hope - the symbol he bears on his chest. Many of our families also have a history of immigration. We share Superman’s hope and we continue his fight for truth, justice and the American Way.

"Superman Is an Immigrant" highlights the variety of American residents who fall under the status of immigrant, in order to illustrate that these are not the stories of "foreigners"—these are the stories of our own people. And when we speak of immigrants, we are talking about ourselves.

Below are some of the stories of those who've participated in the campaign so far.

I was in middle-school when I aced our “citizenship” test. I am now 22 years old and undocumented. I was brought here as a baby. I went to public schools. I grew up reading Harry Potter. I went through the difficulty and shame of applying for any job that would hire “illegal immigrants.” I speak the language, I’ve assimilated into the culture. Now I just need that piece of paper to validate what I already know. I’m an immigrant, but I’m still an American.

Nineteen years ago, my family immigrated to America to find new opportunities for a better life. Had they not left their homeland and the one-child rule behind, I would not be standing here today.

I am not recognized by the Chinese gov’t, but I am an American citizen.

I am alive. I am the American way.

Most of my life I've been told that my dad's ancestors came over just after the Mayflower and helped found Rhode Island. Another died in the Civil War. My mom's ancestors were English, Dutch, German and Austrian. I don't really have a heritage.

I'm a mutt. I am the American Way.

I'm Matt from the Whomping Willows.

My 14th-Great Grandfather on my mother's side is Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island. He was an advocate of religious freedom and fair dealings with Native Americans. He was an immigrant. I am the American Way!

Eric Liu, former speechwriter and deputy domestic policy advisor for President Bill Clinton, critically-acclaimed author, co-founder of the True Patriot Network.

2nd Generation Chinese American

My grandfather's name meant, "Deliverance of the Nation."

I am the American Way!


All photos: We Are the American Way/Tumblr

How did your own family find its way to the U.S.? Tell us your story in the Comments.

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