St. Olaf College | News

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist to speak about immigration

VargasJoseAntonio300x375Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, filmmaker, and immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas will visit St. Olaf College on March 10 to deliver a lecture titled Define American: My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant.

The lecture, hosted by the college’s Political Awareness Committee, will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Pause.

Vargas is the founder of Define American, a nonprofit media and culture organization that seeks to elevate the conversation around immigration and citizenship in America. He is also the executive editor of #EmergingUS, a multimedia news platform launched in June 2015, that focuses on the subject of race, immigration, and the complexities of multiculturalism.

A seasoned journalist who has written for daily newspapers and national magazines, Vargas was part of the Washington Post team that won a Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting for its coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre.

In 2011 Vargas wrote an essay for the New York Times Magazine, in which he revealed and chronicled his life in America as an undocumented immigrant. A year later he appeared on the cover of TIME magazine with other undocumented immigrants as a part of his follow-up cover story regarding the same subject.

As a filmmaker, Vargas wrote, produced, and directed the 2013 autobiographical film Documented, which tells the story of his experience as an undocumented immigrant. In 2015 he wrote, produced, and directed the documentary film White People, which explores the subject of white privilege in the United States.

Among other accolades, Vargas has received are a Public Service Award from the National Council of La Raza, the country’s largest Latino advocacy organization; the Salem Award from the Salem Award Foundation, which draws upon the lessons of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692; and the Freedom to Write Award from PEN Center USA.