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March 18, 2015

‘From Bystander to Ally’

Immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas to give keynote at annual diversity conference

Jose Antonio Vargas
Jose Antonio Vargas

On Friday, April 17, representatives from across the University will gather to discuss and celebrate diversity and inclusion at the 2015 Diversity Conference, “From Bystander to Ally.”

Eighteen workshops will cover a range of diversity topics such as immigration, disabilities, intercultural communication, and the power of film on social justice issues.

This year’s keynote speaker is Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, filmmaker, and immigration activist. He will present “My Life As an Undocumented Immigrant” in which he’ll share details of his journey to America from the Philippines as a child. He will also explore how the word  “American” is defined.

Vargas is writer and director of Documented, a film that also chronicles his emigration from the Philippines to his decision to publicize his illegal status. In 2011, he wrote about his undocumented immigrant status in the New York Times Magazine.

Vargas has since testified at a United States Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration reform and has been at the forefront of challenging the media’s coverage of undocumented immigrants.

Vargas was part of a Pulitzer Prize–winning team at the Washington Post that covered the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007. He is also founder of Define American, a nonprofit media and culture organization that seeks to elevate the conversation around immigration and citizenship in America. His latest project, a multimedia venture in partnership with the Los Angeles Times called #EmergingUS, will focus on race, identity politics, multiculturalism and immigration reform.

Registration is open until April 10 for the free day-long conference. The University community is invited to submit posters at the conference by Thursday, April 2. Visit to register or for more information on how to send a poster proposal.

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