Jose Antonio Vargas to deliver Deis Impact keynote

Jose Antonio Vargas holding a sign that says I am an American.Photo/Getty Images

Jose Antonio Vargas

NOTE: This event and all other 2020 Deis Impact events have been cancelled due to event and travel restrictions resulting from COVID-19

Journalist, filmmaker and activist Jose Antonio Vargas will be the keynote speaker at this year's Deis Impact, Brandeis University's annual festival of social justice.

Vargas, who was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States to live with his grandparents when he was 12, is an undocumented immigrant. He was already a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper journalist in 2010 when President Barack Obama announced a halt on deportation of undocumented immigrants under 30 years old. Vargas was 31 at the time and had not publicly revealed his citizenship status.

He wrote an essay for the New York Times Magazine in 2011 that told his immigration story, and has since become a leading voice for the human rights of immigrants. He is the founder of the non-profit media and culture organization Define American and his best-selling memoir, "Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen," was published in 2018. Most recently, he co-produced Heidi Schreck’s acclaimed Broadway play What the Constitution Means to Me, which was nominated for two 2019 Tony awards, including “Best Play.”

Vargas will deliver the keynote address at Deis Impact on March 24 at 4:30 p.m. in Spingold Theater. The three day festival is overseen by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and programming is coordinated by a student committee, known as the Impacters, who are provided with a stipend and workshops to develop leadership skills. 

The theme for this year's Deis Impact is Reflections on Im/Migration. Events will engage the Brandeis community around the following areas: immigration, migration, asylum seeking, refugee experiences, political ideology, xenophobia, citizenship, and/ or nationality and the intersections of identities, power, privilege, and oppression.

Learn more about the festival and its events on the Deis Impact website.

Categories: Humanities and Social Sciences, Student Life

Return to the BrandeisNOW homepage