Libraries & Archives

May 16, 2019

Dear America @ St. Kate’s

A One Read for Social Justice Initiative

What is a One Read?

A “One Read” is an event where everyone in a particular community reads the same book and comes together to discuss it. Think of it like a giant book club. Often in addition to a shared reading, there are a series of events that give context and relate to the book’s theme.

“People can go for days at a time not talking to anyone outside their immediate family. There are precious few opportunities for people of different ethnic background, economic levels or ages to sit down together and discuss ideas that are important to them this project provides that opportunity.” — Nancy Pearl, Director, Washington Center for the Book

“The idea is that the city that opens the same book closes it in greater harmony.” — Mary McGrory, The Washington Post, March 17, 2002


What book are we reading?

Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas

“This is not a book about the politics of immigration. This book––at its core––is not about immigration at all. This book is about homelessness, not in a traditional sense, but in the unsettled, unmoored psychological state that undocumented immigrants like myself find ourselves in. This book is about lying and being forced to lie to get by; about passing as an American and as a contributing citizen; about families, keeping them together, and having to make new ones when you can’t. This book is about constantly hiding from the government and, in the process, hiding from ourselves. This book is about what it means to not have a home.

"After 25 years of living illegally in a country that does not consider me one of its own, this book is the closest thing I have to freedom.” — Jose Antonio Vargas, from Dear America

Book cover design by Renata de Oliveira; Photo by Elena Siebert


Where can I get a copy of Dear America?

Access the book in the library, win a copy, or purchase one:


How do I participate?

There are many things we encourage you to do:

  • Read the book
  • Come to an event (see below)
  • Plan your own event/discussion/response to the book
  • Integrate the book into your course
  • Learn more about the often untold history behind Dear America, discover readalikes and more on our Dear America One Read Resource Guide

2019-2020 Event Series

Join us for any of these events, and see what events we've already had.

Upcoming Events

Stay tuned for more events next semester!


Past Events

Wednesday, November 20
12-1:30pm
Where do I come from (and does it matter)?
A WOST & CRST Bag Lunch with Anika Fajardo
Abigail Quigley McCarthy Center for Women

Tuesday, November 12
7:30-8:30am
Monthly Action Prayer Vigil
Hosted by the CSJ Immigration Working Group
Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building

Wednesday, November 6
7-8:30pm
Americans first, Immigrants Last: A History of Xenophobia in the U.S.
A Core Convocation with Dr. Erika Lee
Rauenhorst Ballroom

Oct 7-Oct 31
Books for Border Kids Book Drive
Sponsored by the St. Kate's Chapter of PLG
Donate your gently used books to benefit youth at the border
Donation boxes in the library and by the Info Desk

Wednesday, October 16
7-9:30pm
Film screening of Documented
The Pulse

Wednesday, August 14
Lunchtime Discussion of Dear America
Led by Daniel Williams (Sociology & Critical Studies of Race & Ethnicity)

Wednesday, July 17
Lunchtime Discussion of Dear America
Led by Susan Bosher (English & ESL)

Wednesday, June 19
Lunchtime Discussion of Dear America
Led by Martha Phillips (Biology & Core) & Rachel Neiwert (History & Core)

Check back as more events are added or sign up to receive email notifications of the events by emailing Amy Mars (anmars@stkate.edu) or Anne Beschnett (ambeschnett@stkate.edu).