Thousands have joined an unprecedented internet petition campaign led by Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and undocumented immigrant Jose Antonio Vargas, who is calling for a new conversation on immigration. Vargas came out as undocumented in an explosive New York Times article earlier this year.
Following the publication of the article, Vargas started a project called Define American and launched his commitment drive on Change.org asking Americans to pledge to listen and participate in a new conversation on immigration, as well as offer their own definitions of what it means to be an American.
“The only way to solve a problem is to tell the truth about it, and I wanted to share that truth about my own story, as well as the stories of immigrants and the communities they live in nationwide," explains Vargas.
“The time has come for to strike up a more civil, inclusive, common sense debate about immigration in America. I am overwhelmed by the response: 100,000 Americans from different backgrounds and from all over the country coming together to spark a powerful new dialogue about what it means to be an American."
The enormous response of the online pledge has included over 4,363 comments in addition to the 100,000 signatures. Vargas has shared some of those comments and stories on television appearances on major news networks. This fall, Define American is planning to launch initiatives to spread the unique stories of ordinary Americans defining what it means to be American in different ways.
Jose Antonio Vargas’s campaign on Change.org has garnered the attention of major outlets across the country including Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report and MTV. Jose Antonio Vargas has shared his story on ABC, CNN, NPR, MSNBC, FOX News, and several other outlets, including Allvoices.com.