Drop ‘Illegal,’ Say 70K to The Times

Andrea Plaid (left), manager of the Drop the i-word campaign for Colorlines, Jose Antonio Vargas (second from left), and Fernando Chavez inside The New York Times building to deliver signatures asking the publication to stop using the term “illegal” when describing undocumented immigrants. (Photo by Erin Zipper via Colorlines)

Jose Antonio Vargas, the Pulitzer Prize-winning-journalist-turned-immigration-advocate, and Fernando Chavez, the son of legendary labor leader César Chavez, delivered 70,000 signatures to the New York Times on April 23, urging the publication to drop its use of the term “illegal” when describing immigrants without documentation. Dozens showed their support as they gathered in front of the building during the delivery.

The action came three weeks after The Associated Press decided to remove the offensive term from its stylebook. In response, The New York Times said it was “reconsidering” the use of the word.

The signatures were gathered through the efforts of Colorlines’s Drop the I-Word campaign, Define American, Presente.org and a MoveOn.org petition started by Helen Chavez, the widow of Cesar Chavez.

Visit Colorlines for photos of the delivery and the demonstration.

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  1. Rebecca Centeno says:

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