The Applied Research Center Celebrates Associated Press Decision to Drop the I-Word

April 3, 2013 (New York, NY) – The Applied Research Center (ARC) applauds the Associated Press decision to eliminate the phrase “illegal immigrant” from its 2013 Stylebook and calls on other institutions to do the same. A watershed moment in ARC’s Drop the I-Word campaign against dehumanizing language, the Stylebook change will have a tremendous impact on newspaper and other media coverage around the country.

"The AP deserves a lot of credit for the thoughtful and thorough process they've gone through, and for listening to readers and journalists alike," said ARC President Rinku Sen. "This decision will have far reaching implications, at a crucial time in the immigration policy debate."

ARC launched its Drop the I-Word campaign to eliminate use of the word “illegal” in September 2010, as anti-immigrant sentiment and hate crimes against communities of color has increased. ARC first put out a call for the AP to remove “illegal immigrant” from its Stylebook in November 2011 as the go-to reference for journalists is expected to be accurate, objective and respectful. Powered by immigrants and diverse communities across the country, Drop the I-Word has worked steadily through advocacy and coverage at to present the dehumanizing and inaccurate aspects of the i-word, give space for immigrants to tell their stories, and to highlight the history behind the term “illegal” and other dehumanizing language.

The Applied Research Center would like to recognize key partners in this campaign: The National Association of Hispanic Journalists who called for journalists to reevaluate use of the term; progressive media outlets such as Alternet, The Nation, and Free Speech TV, who were among the first to drop the i-word; Roberto Lovato, who provided critical encouragement and was key to the early campaign strategy; The National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities challenged local outlets, including the Boston Globe, to make the change;; National Hispanic Media Coalition; and Jose Antonio Vargas drove the project home with his impassioned plea to journalists last fall. Additionally, ARC is appreciative of linguists, journalists, attorneys and public officials who offered support and made it clear that they could not use the word in good conscience, and the tireless work of community organizers and online supporters who rallied behind campaign efforts and held media outlets accountable.

While the AP Stylebook change is a significant and exciting victory, the work has just begun. ARC will continue to work with editors and publishers to update their style guides.

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About ARC
The Applied Research Center (ARC) is a thirty-year-old, national racial justice organization with a mission to build awareness, solutions and leadership for racial justice by generating transformative ideas, information and experiences. We define racial justice as the systematic fair treatment of people of all races, resulting in equal opportunities and outcomes for all and we work to advance racial justice through media, research, and leadership development.
About Drop the I-Word
Drop the I-Word is a public education campaign powered by immigrants and diverse communities across the country that value human dignity and are working to eradicate the dehumanizing term "illegals" and related language, from everyday use and public discourse. The i-word opens the door to racial profiling and violence and prevents truthful, respectful debate on immigration. No human being is "illegal."