Fri, Dec 2, 2011 1:12 PM EST


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<p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:black;background:white"></span></p><p class="p1" style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: arial, helvetica, hirakakupro-w3, osaka, 'ms pgothic', sans-serif; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; text-align: left; "><i>Each week we highlight one person or group as the Drop the I-Word Friday Friend. Our Friends are special advocates who take a stand for undocumented immigrants and against the i-word.</i></p><div style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: arial, helvetica, hirakakupro-w3, osaka, 'ms pgothic', sans-serif; text-align: center; ">---------------------------</div><p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:black;background:white">This week our Drop the I-Word Friday Friend is <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/United-4-The-Dream/147520695273424">United 4 the Dream (U4TD)</a>, a youth</span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; "> organizing group in the <a href="http://www.latinamericancoalition.org/">Latin American Coalition</a> in Charlotte, North Carolina. U4TD has been organizing a local Drop the I-Word campaign and has been achieving some great results. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; ">The group is comprised of mostly high-school aged youth, and took up the cause </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; ">because they believe the i-word creates a toxic and unsafe climate. Organizers saw that Latinos and </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; ">others perceived to be immigrants were being bullied with the i-word and other derogatory anti-immigrant terms like "wetback," and "alien." They decided to take action and fight for immigrant righ</span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; ">ts and dignity. </span></p>

<p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:black;background:white">The impact United 4 the Dream has made is significant. The group has co</span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; ">llected thousands of Drop the I-Word pledges in the Charlotte area and aren't stopping. This summer they got </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; ">Mike Collins, host of "Charlotte Talks" at NPR local WFAE, to sign on to their campaign. </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; ">They have been reaching out to local English and Spanish language media, community groups and elected officials.  </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; ">Earlier this year, Tom Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, visited Charlotte to talk to students about bullying and harassment. And in </span><span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; "> June, Jennifer Roberts, chair of the Mecklenburg County Commission, signed the pledge. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial">This week we joined the local group in taking action to get the Charlotte Observer to drop the i-word. </font></p><p class="MsoNormal"><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial">United 4 the Dream is a group of </font><span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; ">very sharp campaigners, making smart moves and achieving some sizable victories, and are a model for organizers everywhere. We look forward to celebrating their next victory.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial">You can take action with United 4 the Dream by taking action to tell the Charlotte Observer to drop the i-word. <b><a href="http://colorlines.com/droptheiword/take-action/charlotte-observer-action.html">Click here to send a quick letter to the editors.</a> </b></font></p><p class="MsoNormal"><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial"><b>Related articles:</b></font></p><p class="MsoNormal"></p><ul><ul><li><a href="http://colorlines.com/droptheiword/blog/take-action-charlotte-observer.html">Take Action! Tell the Charlotte Observer to Drop the I-Word</a></li><li><a href="http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/07/students_in_charlotte_nc_claim_a_win_for_drop_the_i-word.html" style="font-family: Arial; ">Students in Charlotte, NC Claim a Win for Drop the I-Word</a></li><li><a href="http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/05/youth_drum_up_support_for_dropping_the_i-word_in_charolette_nc.html">[VIDEO] Youth Drum Up Support for Dropping the I-Word in Charlotte, NC</a></li></ul></ul><p class="p1" style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; text-align: center; ">---------------------------</p><p class="p1" style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; "><i>Do you know someone who'd make a good Drop the I-Word Friday Friend? Let us know at <a href="mailto:droptheiword@colorlines.com">droptheiword@colorlines.com</a>.</i></p><p></p>

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