WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN AMERICAN
Today media is overheated with stories which many people don’t even think to be true. As a result, more and more people no longer understand the problems facing the world, and so do not know how to choose their way of engaging. Fear, blame, and withdrawal into the tribe became the default response. This is increasingly true for immigration in America.
That means immigration has always been in the DNA of the country. Entrepreneurs, fruit pickers, artists, nannies, scientists, and nearly 40% of Nobel prize laureates have all come to this country, bringing new skills, creativity, culture, and adding to the diversity and prosperity of the nation. With courage and skill, immigrants built up America as we now know it. It is thanks to them that the entrepreneurial, risk-taking spirit has become synonymous with the idea of being “American.”
It is much easier to build commonality with behaviors, and America has emphasized exactly this, as a country founded on transcending tribal history. Standing up for American values–taking risks to realize something that has never been before–has been, for centuries, the main requirement for having a place in the home of the brave. As it so happens that kind of risk-taking attitude, and it is also exactly what you see in the immigrants who’ve been coming to America for centuries. We are all American. We are all immigrants.
PEOPLE OF AMERICA
To realize this strategy, we propose a non-profit organization called “United People of America,” which aims to unite people beyond their tribal identities. The mission is to celebrate the immigrant heritage of all Americans in the country, and to inspire all immigrants to be proud of who they are. We are all Americans. We are all immigrants.
United People of America will pursue three steps:
1) Raising awareness of the unique, immigrant-centered heritage of America;
2) Partnering with like-minded businesses to raise funds for our initiatives;
3) Creating a social movement to recognize immigrants and the immigrant experience.
DIRECTION 1: 100% AMERICA
The “100% American” campaign will raise awareness about the cultural heritage of every person in this country by emphasizing the fact that everyone in the USA is of immigrant descent. It will feature people, landmarks and cultural icons, which were created by visionary and brave immigrants. For instance, the Statue of Liberty: made by the French, but now recognized as 100% American.
DIRECTION 2: Project United
Project United will be a brand partnership initiative that aims to spread the message and raise the funds to support United People of America. The campaign will showcase the importance of immigration to the American cultural identity by integrating the visual elements of “United People of America” to some of the most iconic American brands that were originally created by immigrants. For example, Levi’s was founded by a German immigrant and is now seen as an American icon.
DIRECTION 3: WE THE BRAVE - SOCIAL MOVEMEN
To encourage people to get involved with the cause, we will introduce We the Brave: an online and offline social movement, which will foster dialogues on the importance of immigration and immigrant experiences throughout US history, as well as celebrate their bravery and determination in living out American values.
United People of America is the first step in giving a voice for those who have been silenced for too long. It encourages immigrants and their descendants to take back the power to write their own stories.
This is a case study based on a project originally prepared and presented by students of the Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Art: Rosario Belli, Anisha Choudhury, Julia Makhalova, Benjamin Havrilak, Namrata Kalani, Fabien Muenala, and myself as a creative director.