Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Jose Vargas to Speak at Holy Cross as Part of Unity Week

The Student Government Association (SGA) at the College of the Holy Cross, in partnership with the Diversity Leadership Team and various academic departments, offices, and student organizations, have planned a variety of discussions, film screenings, workshops, and multicultural festivals around topics related to diversity and inclusion. The events, which run from Nov. 6 −16, are part of the 15th annual Unity Week celebration.

SGA co-chairs of diversity Amina Gomez ’16 and Edgar Rodriguez ’16 see their roles on the SGA as a vital component in making sure the College remains inclusive to all, by incorporating the backgrounds of every student no matter what their race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, (dis)abilities, or religion might be. Rodriguez says “Unity Week is the beginning of our yearlong campaign in which we venture to transform our campus into a more inclusive environment that welcomes everyone.” Gomez says the goal of the program is to “bring the campus community together through education, dialogue, and celebration.”

The keynote speaker of the weeklong celebration will be Jose Vargas, journalist and filmmaker. He will discuss his work which focuses on the changing American identity on Monday, Nov.16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Hogan Campus Center Ballroom.

In June 2011, Vargas wrote the groundbreaking essay published by the New York Times Magazine in which he revealed and chronicled his life in the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant. The following year, Vargas appeared on the cover of TIME Magazine alongside fellow undocumented immigrants as part of a follow-up cover story he wrote.  He produced and directed a documentary film titled “Documented,” that profiled his undocumented experience. The film premiered at the AFI Docs Film in Washington, D.C. in 2013 and was then later released theatrically and broadcasted on CNN in 2014. “Documented” received a 2015 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Documentary.

Vargas is the founder of Define America, a nonprofit media and culture organization that seeks to elevate the conversation around immigration and citizenship in the U.S. Vargas is also the executive editor of #EmergingUS, a multimedia news platform he created that focuses on race, immigration, and the complexities of multiculturalism. In partnership with the Los Angeles Times, #EmergingUS was launched in June 2015. In addition, MTV will air, as part of its “Look Different” campaign, a television special titled “White People.” Vargas directed the project and it focuses on what it means to be young and white in the U.S.

Vargas has received a Public Service Award from the National Council of La Raza, the country’s largest Latino advocacy organization, the Freedom to Write Award from PEN Center USA, and an honorary Doctor of Letters from Colby College. Vargas graduated from San Francisco University in 2004 and was named Alumnus of the Year in 2012.

View a complete listing of Unity Week Events.