Join us for a dialogue between Visiting Professor Michelle Alexander and Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize winning-journalist who was dubbed “the nation’s most famous illegal immigrant” after revealing his undocumented status in an article that went viral. For nearly a decade, Vargas has lived with radical transparency, risking his own safety and security in order to draw attention to the plight of undocumented people in the United States and the experience of migrants around the world. Alexander and Vargas will discuss his new book, Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen, and address vital questions of our time, such as: Who deserves citizenship? What defines an American? How can we learn to care for and honor the humanity and dignity of “others” in a nation so deeply divided along lines of race and class? They will also explore the parallels between mass incarceration and mass deportation and consider whether the movements that have emerged to end these crises might offer the best hope for reimagining our democracy.
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Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and a leading voice for the human rights of immigrants. He is the founder and CEO of Define American, the nation’s leading non-profit media and culture organization that fights injustice and anti-immigrant hate through the power of storytelling. His forthcoming memoir, Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen, will be published in fall 2018.
Michelle Alexander is Union’s visiting professor of social justice. a highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate, and legal scholar, Alexander is the author of the New York Times best seller The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness and was recently named a New York Times opinion columnist. Prior to entering academia, Alexander served as the director of the Racial Justice Project for the ACLU of Northern California.