2010 Implementation Award Winner

First Person American

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First Person American is an initiative to change the public’s perception of immigrants and to interject a new voice through deep and poignant portraits of people who immigrated to America. In partnership with the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, First Person American speaks to the next generation of immigrants and promotes the idea that storytelling and design can have a positive social impact. First Person American is a content-driven website with video interviews that explores the modern immigrant identity through personal storytelling, visual documentation and interactive media.
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June 18, 2013
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A 30-second promotional video featuring participants of First Person American.
Still from Eleonora Dantchev's story. Eleonora, or "Nora" as her American name, talks about her experience of coming to America from Sofia, Bulgaria in 1992 with her daughter and husband.
The homepage for First Person American gathers immigrants’ stories of assimilating into their American life while maintaining their cultural identity.
The outdoor advertising engages passers-by to connect with the participants and leads people to
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A 3-min video of Soo Yun Yun talking about her experience of leaving Seoul, South Korea, her family, friends and everything familiar to pursue her own path.

The modern immigrant story is undocumented in the halls of the Ellis Island Museum. It needs to be preserved, documented and shared with the world. In light of the current stories in the media about immigration reform, there is a lack of an unbiased personal side to the story.


Engage visitors in powerful stories about immigrants’ journey, challenges and insights. Through video and multimedia, First Person American puts a human face on the immigration reform issue. First Person American will have a strong and transformative effect on individual immigrant and non-immigrant lives and communities.