For immediate release | March 21, 2018

Jose Antonio Vargas Selected as ALA President's Program Speaker at 2018 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition

Chicago - ALA President, Jim Neal welcomes Jose Antonio Vargas, journalist, filmmaker, and CEO of Define American, a nonprofit media and culture organization that uses the power of story to transcend politics and shift the conversation about immigrants, identity, and citizenship in a changing America. Vargas will discuss his first book, a provocative memoir, that is both personal and universal. Available Fall 2018, Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen is both an urgent and personal letter to his country and a window into Vargas’s American experience. It is a transformative argument about migration and citizenship and an intimate, searing exploration of what it means to be “home” when the country you live in doesn’t consider you one of its own. The session will take place on Sunday, June 24, 3:00-5:30pm at the 2018 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans, LA.

Vargas was born in the Philippines and brought to the United States illegally as a twelve-year-old. He hid in plain sight for years, writing for some of the most prestigious news organizations in the country while lying about where he came from and how he got here. After publicly admitting his undocumented status, risking his career and personal safety, Vargas challenged the definition of what it means to be an American. He has advocated for the human rights of immigrants and migrants during the largest global movement of people in modern history.

Vargas was part of the Washington Post team that won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting for their coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting. He revealed his undocumented immigration status in a 2011 essay in the New York Times Magazine and later produced and directed his autobiographical documentary,Documented, which aired on CNN. He later produced and directed White People, which aired on MTV.

His appearance at the conference is sponsored by HarperCollins.

Early Advance registration rates are available through Wednesday, May 2, 2018, 12:00 Noon (Central). If you need help in making your case to attend, these resources can help.

Ways to stay in touch and get updates include: Annual Conference website, Twitter (@alaac and #alaac18) Facebook Events, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram.

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