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Writer, activist Jose Antonio Vargas to discuss immigrants' rights

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

LAWRENCE — Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas will deliver a timely talk on the rights of immigrants with his presentation this week at Liberty Hall.

Vargas will deliver the Kenneth A. Spencer Lecture for The Commons at 7 p.m. Jan. 24. His presentation will focus on his work with undocumented immigrants in the U.S. featured in his recent book, “Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen” (HarperCollins, 2018).

In addition to his recent memoir, Vargas produced and directed “Documented,” a documentary feature film based on his own undocumented experience, which earned a 2015 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Documentary. That year, he also created “White People,” a television special about what it means to be young and white in the United States, for MTV. It was nominated for an Emmy.

He is the founder and CEO of Define American, the nation’s leading nonprofit media and culture organization that fights injustice and anti-immigrant hate through the power of storytelling. As an avid supporter of the role of arts in society and a consistent force for promoting equity in education, he also serves on the advisory board of TheDream.US, a scholarship fund for undocumented immigrant students.

The annual Kenneth A. Spencer Lecture is hosted by The Commons to invite seminal figures, whose work applies across disciplines, to address the campus and regional community. In recent years, the lecture series has featured poet/sociologist/educator Eve Ewing, architectural biologist Jessica Green, comedian Andy Borowitz, writer/activist Margaret Atwood and writer/historian Rebecca Solnit.

Tickets are free and may be obtained via thecommons.ku.edu or Liberty Hall. The event is open to the public. Books will be available for sale on site by the Raven Book Store.

Anyone needing special accommodations may contact The Commons staff for assistance.


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