Chasing the American Dream is as classic as baked apple pie. Credit: Shopify


Quick summary: This newsletter explores the pursuit of the American Dream through a multifaceted, diasporic lens. Highlighting narratives from URL Media partners, TANTV Studios, Latina to Latina, El Tecolote and India Currents, we hope this newsletter inspires you to reflect and engage us on what the American Dream means for you.

Hey fam,

“All I have is a dollar and a dream”… sound familiar? 

You’ve likely heard this phrase dozens of times in your life. It’s a figure of speech that virtually anyone can relate to. Whether you’re a young entrepreneur looking for a funder to invest in your brilliant idea, an artist seeking their big break or an asylum seeker escaping persecution, this phrase resonates.

It could be argued that it is similar to what American writer and historian James Truslow Adams may have meant by the ‘American Dream’ — a different yet very similar phrase — when he coined it in his 1931 bestseller “The Epic of America” during the Great Depression.

The dollar represents a starting point, while the dream symbolizes hope. By Adams’ definition, the American Dream is “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” From this, we can deduce that opportunity, upward mobility and hope are the core components of the American Dream.

Plus: Join the Immigrantly team as they reflect on freedom, identity and equality in this Fourth of July special 🎧

Even though we’re nearly a century removed from Adams’ book, stories about the American Dream are everywhere. Working for a media network that serves communities largely ignored and misunderstood in mainstream media and society means that I have courtside seats to these types of narratives from our news partners quite often. But before we get into these stories, my question is: What does the American Dream mean to you?

It’s fascinating to know that your answer may differ from mine based on our unique lived experiences. However, if we share any of the following identities — woman, Black, African, an immigrant’s daughter or diaspora kid — our version of the American Dream might sound more alike than different. 

Being the first person in my immediate family to graduate from college, pursue a career in journalism and work overseas feels like I’ve achieved some version of the American Dream. I wonder if someone like Caresse Jackman, a DC-based consumer investigative reporter who is the focus of this profile by URL Media partner TANTV Studios, shares this sentiment. 

Also a member of the Black (Caribbean) diaspora, Jackman has produced award-winning projects, like this 20-minute segment educating viewers about the history of African-Americans in Nashville, including the recent migration of Black immigrant communities to the Southern capital city during Black History Month. 

“Throughout my life, I’ve understood how crucial representation is, especially in my role as a journalist. I’ve always made sure that the voices of immigrants and those from the African diaspora were included in [the] media,” says Jackman.

Producing stories that uniquely reflect the diaspora’s lived experiences is also crucial for America Ferrera, known for her role in ABC’s hit show “Ugly Betty” during the early 2000s. In a throwback episode of Latina to Latina, Ferrera discusses representation and her dedication to stories that resonate with her community. “… the thing that I loved about Gentefied and felt so seen in is that the kind of bigger metaphor of gentrification was the perfect metaphor for the inner struggle of a first generation daughter of immigrants,” says the actress who reflects on the Netflix series she executive produced, which ran for two seasons

In the interview, Ferrera acknowledged her parents’ journey from Honduras as their pursuit of the American Dream, which paved the way for her aspirations. (Fun fact: Ferrera is the first and only Latina to have won an Emmy for a leading role.)

For the local Venezuelan band Bululú in San Francisco, their pursuit of the American Dream involves celebrating the Latino diaspora through creating music rooted in sounds from both Venezuelan and Caribbean cultures. “People come here, and they are far away from their homelands, and it’s up to us to provide that continuity, that care as a community through our live events,” said the band’s lead, percussionist Lali Mejia, to El Tecolote.

As we explore the multifaceted pursuit of the American Dream through a diasporic lens, India Currents offers this take on a diminishing dream they say is exacerbated by a widening wealth gap and other economic factors. 

Do you believe the American Dream is still attainable? Why or why not?

Ariam Alula (how to say it) is URL Media’s first audience manager. She works closely with URL Media’s Editorial Director and leads the network’s social and newsletter content while further developing and executing the brand’s strategic audience goals. Alula who was born and raised in The Bronx had this to say about her work upon joining the network in the fall of 2022.

“I'm committed to helping our audience understand how issues in their own backyard impact other BIPOC communities. Also, I believe that our network's content amplification and original reporting should fully reflect and affirm the customs and cultural norms of our multicultural, multidisciplinary, and geographically diverse audiences. As BIPOC communities have and continue to be grossly misrepresented by the mainstream media, this part of the work can’t be overstated. Also growing up as a child of immigrants, community is an integral part of my identity, and it's something I bring to URL Media every day.”

Before joining the network, Alula sharpened her range of skills and interests in newsletter curation and editing, audience strategy and research, and measuring and tracking impact. In recent years Alula has worked for many organizations in the journalism support space, such as Coda Story while based in the Republic of Georgia and U.S.-based organizations like the Institute for Nonprofit News, the Public Square Team at Democracy Fund, Online News Association and Women Do News. She has also written for the American Press Institute’s Need to Know newsletter.

Alula is also a proud graduate of the engagement journalism program at the Craig Newmark Journalism School at the City University of New York, where she spent 16 long, insightful and experimental months working with family caregivers of people with autism in New York City.