A group of students at Flushing International High School (FIHS) that are part of a DREAM are raising awareness about the Drop the ‘I-Word Campaign and how the ‘I’ word impacts their life.
For the past two months, members of Dream Team have been studying and discussing the negative impact of the use of the word “illegal” to refer to immigrants in the United States. The video above was created by a former FIHS student and captures the raw emotions of how young undocumented youth feel when they’re referred to as “illegals.”
The students say they were inspired by the Drop the I-Word Campaign, a project from the Applied Research Center and Colorlines.com.
The Drop the I-Word team recently met with FIHS students in Queens, NY at an event called “We Are Beautiful! Immigrant Rights Do Matter!” which was organized by the FIHS’ Dream Team and Multi Squad.
Mónica Novoa, Drop the I-Word Campaign Coordinator, said she is grateful and inspired by the students at FIHS and their work to reject the i-word for themselves and their community. “The students at FIHS have set a brilliant and brave example in their own community,” Novoa said.
“They’re taking on the i-word because they know it impacts their lives and the way they are treated. They are taking a stand against bullying, racism and violence - and they are affirming their belief in one another and their ability to create a brighter future,” Novoa went on to say.
Below is FIHS’ Dream Team’s pledge urging their school community to commit to stop using the i-word:
“Illegals” is a damaging word. It is used to discriminate against immigrants and people of color. No human being is “illegal.”
The “I” word:
Is dehumanizing, discriminatory and divisive
Is not respectful of a person’s human rights and dignity
Is an inaccurate description of a human being
Promotes violence and racism
As a community, we believe in:
The dignity and human rights of all people
Using accurate language that respects ourselves and the basic values of others
Promoting racial equality, justice and unity for a better future
“We applaud the leadership of the Dream Team, the Multi Squad and the Asian American Student Advocacy Project,” Novoa went on to say.