Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas made headlines when he very publicly admitted to being an undocumented immigrant in an effort to put a spotlight on immigrant issues.
He is now turning his attention to launching a media platform aimed at reflecting the diversity of America while inspiring discussions about race at the same time called #EmergingUS.
Vargas looks to raise $1 million in 60 days and has already produced a few videos including one called “Dear Donald.” During this particular piece, Americans from various backgrounds and demographics respond to the candidacy of the runaway freight train that is Donald Trump.
Vargas joined Roland Martin on NewsOne Now to discuss his new media venture and the never-before-seen crowdfunding campaign he has established to launch #EmergingUS.
Martin cut directly to the heart of the matter in media by calling mainstream media, “White dominated media” where White executives, television stations, cable networks, newspapers and digital media ignore the perspectives of people of color.
Vargas responded to Martin’s statement saying “I actually think there is a new mainstream in America. We are the mainstream in America and in someways this is what Donald Trump and the people who support him are so scared of … the fact that this country is becoming less and less white.”
According to Vargas, 72 percent of all women in Los Angeles are women of color. He asked viewers, “Doesn’t that give the whole Oscars So White conversation a whole new meaning.”
“For the most part American newsrooms are actually less diverse now than when I started in journalism in the last 1990’s,” Vargas said. “As our country gets more and more diverse, our newsrooms less and less diverse.”
Later during their conversation, Vargas said, “[The media] has really failed in the way that it frames the conversation about immigration because there is not enough people of color, especially, for example, Latinos in news media.”
He continued to explain how media misconstrues narratives by debunking the notion that the fastest growing number of undocumented workers in America are Latinos. Vargas told viewers the fastest group of undocumented workers are Asians.
“We don’t even talk about undocumented Black people, there are so many undocumented Carribeans, Africans that aren’t even a part of the conversation because White media is so busy talking about Mexico and the border and building the wall and basically playing into Donald Trump.”
He continued, “Until we own media, until we get to actually frame the conversation nothing is going to change.”
To combat White dominated media’s control over the nation’s narrative, Vargas said he decided to own his own media company and started Emerging US. In what is being considered the largest crowdfunding campaign in American journalism, he is looking to raise $1 million over the next 60 days to begin to “build new institutions” starting with #EmergingUS.
“We have to really fight to make sure that we’re telling our story the way we want it to be told,” said Vargus.
To support the crowdfunding campaign for #EmergingUS visit www.emergingus.com.
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