There will be plenty to talk about when Pulitzer-winning journalist, filmmaker and immigration rights activist Jose Antonio Vargas speaks at Sonoma State University on the topic of "A Post-Election Conversation About Immigration in America" on Sunday, Jan. 29 at 6:30 p.m. in Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. He will be joined in conversation by Sonoma State Chicano and Latino Studies Chair Daniel Malpica as well as immigration lawyer and MyAmericanDreams.org founder Christopher Kerosky. Tickets are free, but seating is limited.
"This talk is so important now because it appears that President Trump is going to have very tough line on issues dealing with immigration in terms of building a wall, maybe deporting people," says Malpica. "We are privileged to have a speaker like Jose Antonio Vargas, who has been a public figure and a public intellectual on these issues, coming to Sonoma State."
Vargas was part of the Pulitzer-winning team at the Washington Post that covered the Virginia Tech Shooting in 2007. He famously came out as an undocumented immigrant in a New York Times Magazine piece and was later the subject of a Times Magazine cover story showing his support for the proposed DREAM act.
"I think Jose Antonio Vargas gives voice to the voiceless," says Malpica. "And I hope people get inspired by that, specifically the students who are undocumented and the folks in attendance who really support and want to make a better circumstance for those students who have the misfortune of being undocumented in this country."
Vargas did not qualify for citizenship under DACA in 2012, as he was 31 at the time, one year older than the age limit. A recent attempt to make the age requirement obsolete was deadlocked with a 4-4 vote by the Supreme Court and the topic is at a standstill.
Vargas has also made films, including the 2013 auto-biographical "Documented" and the 2015 MTV documentary "White People," which focuses on white privilege in the United States. His latest project is a new media video platform called EmergingUS focusing on American identity.
"With this event being in a university setting, I think if we are able to discuss and ponder upon the topic and issues together, all of us become better citizens," says Malpica.
Tickets are free and available online. Parking on campus is $5-$8. This event is sponsored by the Provost's Office of Diversity and Inclusion Excellence, SSU Undocu-Scholars Coalition and SSU Alianza for Equity.