Define American was founded in 2011 by Jose Antonio Vargas. In 2011, Jose Vargas wrote a piece in the New York Times Magazine called “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant.” Ever since, he has been elevating the conversation around immigration and what it means to “be American.”
The project is simple. It’s about talking. “Our immigration system is broken — and fixing it requires a conversation that’s bigger and more effective than the one that we’ve become accustomed to. Define American brings new voices into the immigration conversation, shining a light on a growing 21st century Underground Railroad: American citizens who are forced to fill in where our broken immigration system fails. From principals to pastors, these everyday immigrant allies are simply trying to do the right thing. Some are driven by a biblical call to social justice, while others believe this is a moral imperative. These heroes need to be the center of this national conversation. Together, we are going to fix a broken system.”
“How do you Define American? Why is America special to you? What values do we, as Americans, share? What is the role of immigrants and immigration in America?”
The Institute for Justice Education at the Multicultural Student Center invites you to join that conversation and reflection. Share your Define American stories here.
Jose Antonio Vargas will be speaking tonight, October 9, in the Pyle Center’s AT&T Lounge from 6-7:30pm. As a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, Vargas will talk about this “double-coming out” through his lens as a gay man of color, and how the power of knowing our own, unique stories does more to add to the story of America than to hurt it.