Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and Tony-nominated producer, will speak at the Asian Cultural Dinner at 5 p.m. April 12 at Illinois State University’s Brown Ballroom at Bone Student Center.
Organized by University Housing, tickets for the Cultural Dinner are available here until April 5.
A leading voice for immigrant human rights, Vargas founded the nonprofit media advocacy organization Define American, named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company. In 2020, Fortune the magazine named him one of its “40 People Under 40” most influential in government and politics.
Vargas began his career at The Washington Postwhere he won a Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting in 2008. He rose to national fame in 2011 when The New York Times magazine published his groundbreaking essay in which he revealed and chronicled his life in America as an undocumented immigrant. A year later, he wrote the cover of TIME and appeared with other undocumented immigrants on the cover.
As a producer and director, Vargas’ work has been celebrated. It received a 2015 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Documentary for Autobiographical Film Documented and an Emmy nomination for White persona special about what it means to be young and white in a demographically changing America.
In 2019, Vargas co-produced Heidi Schreck’s acclaimed Broadway play What the Constitution means to mewhich was nominated for a Tony Award for “Best Play” and is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Vargas’ Best-Selling Memoirs, Dear America: Notes from an Undocumented Citizenwas published by HarperCollins in 2018. Her second book, white is not a countrywill be published by Pantheon Books in 2023.
Sponsors for the evening include Event Management, Dining and Hospitality, Association of Residence Halls, Hewett-Manchester Diversity Coalition, Watterson Diversity Coalition, Tri-Towers Diversity Coalition and Cardinal Court Council.