Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and Tony-nominated theatrical producer. A leading voice for the human rights of immigrants, he founded the non-profit narrative change organization Define American, named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company.
In 2019, he co-produced Heidi Schreck’s acclaimed Broadway play What the Constitution Means to Me, which was nominated for a Tony Award for "Best Play" and is streamable on Amazon Prime Video. His second Broadway production, a staging of David Byrne and Fatboy Slim's musical Here Lies Love, opened at the Broadway Theatre in July 2023.
In 2011, the New York Times Magazine published a groundbreaking essay he wrote in which he revealed and chronicled his life in America as an undocumented immigrant. A year later, he appeared on the cover of TIME worldwide with fellow undocumented immigrants as part of a follow-up cover story he wrote. He then produced and directed Documented, a documentary feature film on his undocumented experience. Broadcast on CNN and streamed on Netflix, it received a 2015 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Documentary. Also in 2015, MTV aired White People, an Emmy-nominated television special he produced and directed on what it means to be young and white in a demographically-changing America.
In 2020, Fortune named him one of its "40 under 40" most influential people in government and politics. Among other accolades he has received are the Freedom to Write Award from PEN Center USA and honorary degrees from Emerson College, Colby College, and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Passionate about promoting equity in education for all students, he serves on the advisory board of TheDream.US, a scholarship fund for undocumented immigrant students; and, in 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom appointed him to the Board of Trustees of California State University, the largest four-year public university system in the United States.
A product of the San Francisco Bay Area, he is a proud graduate of San Francisco State University ('04), where he was named Alumnus of the Year in 2012, and Mountain View High School ('00). An elementary school named after Vargas opened in his hometown of Mountain View, California in August 2019.