Vargas and Pancholy to headline August AAJA Gala in Washington D.C.

The Asian American Journalists Association is excited to announce that Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas and actor Maulik Pancholy will headline its 25th Annual Scholarship & Awards Gala at the National Convention in Washington, D.C. The gala will be held Saturday, Aug. 16.

JoseVargas published a groundbreaking 2011 essay in the New York Times Magazine that revealed and chronicled his life in the United States as an undocumented immigrant.The revelation captured international coverage and stoked debate over the country’s immigration policies. He later appeared on the cover of TIME magazine with other undocumented immigrants as part of a cover story he wrote.

Vargas continues to grab headlines as he persists in challenging those policies. Vargas has testified before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on the issue, and has written and directed Documented, a film on his experience. It world-premiered at the AFI Docs film festival in Washington, D.C. in June 2013, was released theatrically in May 2014, and aired on CNN in June 2014.

He was part of the Washington Post team that won a Pulitzer Prize for covering the Virginia Tech massacre. His 2006 series on AIDS in Washington, D.C., inspired The Other City, a documentary film that he co-produced and wrote. He has appeared on several national and international television and radio programs, including Nightline, The O’Reilly Factor, and The Colbert Report.

MaulikPancholy is widely known for playing Jonathan on the award-winning NBC comedy 30 Rock and for playing Sanjay on Showtime’s award-winning dramedy Weeds.  He starred on the NBC comedy Whitney, and recurred on Showtime’s Web Therapy. Other television credits include The Good Wife, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Comeback, and The Sopranos. Pancholy has shared the Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for “Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series” four times – three times with the cast of 30 Rock (winning in 2009) and once with the cast of Weeds. He currently voices the title character of Sanjay on Nickelodeon’s hit animated series Sanjay & Craig and is the voice of Baljeet on the Disney Channel’s Phineas & Ferb.

Pancholy was recently appointed by President Obama to serve as a commissioner on the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. He is active with nonprofit and social policy organizations such as Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the Asian American Arts Alliance, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and the New York City Anti-Violence Project. He frequently addresses college students about stereotypes in the media and the news industry’s evolving attitude toward minorities.

AAJA is a nonprofit professional and educational organization with more than 1,700 members across the United States and in Asia. Founded in 1981, AAJA has been at the forefront of change in the journalism industry. AAJA’s mission is to encourage Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) to enter the ranks of journalism, to work for fair and accurate coverage of AAPIs, and to increase the number of AAPI journalists and news managers in the industry.

To attend the AAJA convention or the gala, please contact Executive Director Kathy Chow at kathyc@aaja.org or National President Paul Cheung at pcheung@aaja.org