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.

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This week our Drop the I-Word Friday Friend is United 4 the Dream (U4TD), a youth organizing group in the Latin American Coalition in Charlotte, North Carolina. U4TD has been organizing a local Drop the I-Word campaign and has been achieving some great results. 

The group is comprised of mostly high-school aged youth, and took up the cause because they believe the i-word creates a toxic and unsafe climate. Organizers saw that Latinos and 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 rights and dignity. 

The impact United 4 the Dream has made is significant. The group has collected thousands of Drop the I-Word pledges in the Charlotte area and aren't stopping. This summer they got Mike Collins, host of "Charlotte Talks" at NPR local WFAE, to sign on to their campaign. They have been reaching out to local English and Spanish language media, community groups and elected officials.  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  June, Jennifer Roberts, chair of the Mecklenburg County Commission, signed the pledge. 

This week we joined the local group in taking action to get the Charlotte Observer to drop the i-word. 

United 4 the Dream is a group of 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.

You can take action with United 4 the Dream by taking action to tell the Charlotte Observer to drop the i-word. Click here to send a quick letter to the editors. 

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Do you know someone who'd make a good Drop the I-Word Friday Friend? Let us know at droptheiword@colorlines.com.