In the midst of election season, I have been reminded once again of the importance of having an ID in order to vote. When I went to my polling place (which I did early), I was well aware that although the controversial photo ID requirement was repealed by federal courts in July 2016, there are some cases in which you could be asked to show some form of identification. I am lucky that I have that identification, but others such as the homeless, those who are low-income, the elderly, or those recently released from prison, are not so fortunate. A form of identification is important and necessary to make our communities more secure; thus, community ID programs, such as the FaithAction program, embody a very important step forward in creating safer, more inclusive, and united communities for all — a much needed example of positive collaboration at this divided time in our nation.
The FaithAction ID Network is a connected group of faith communities, nonprofits, and grassroots movements that recognize the urgency of valid ID cards for members of our community who may have limited access to government issued forms of identification. They emphasize the importance of creating a unified model and vetting process that community partners (law enforcement, health centers, schools, businesses, and other city agencies) can trust and use to better identify, serve, and protect all residents in cities across North Carolina and the United States. Furthermore, it is important to note that there is also a strong vetting process that everyone, regardless of culture, faith, nationality, sexual orientation or gender identity, must go through in order to receive the ID, which includes a 30-minute orientation and other requirements.
An ID card is just a piece of plastic until our community gives the card value. As people of faith we believe each person is made in the image of God and, therefore, has inherent dignity and worth, regardless of race, culture, nationality, socioeconomic status, or gender, and is deserving of a valid form of identification. The FaithAction ID program is for any resident, not just immigrants. Pastors, homeless and low-income citizens, city officials, those returning from prison, police officers, and many others have also supported the program, and benefited from having a FaithAction ID card, especially given all of the new arts partnerships and perks. As we continue to work for a driver’s license for all qualified residents at the state level, as well as lasting immigration reform at the federal level, it is important to remember, particularly during this time of political division on issues of immigration, that community ID programs bring greater dignity, access, and hope to our newest neighbors, while building safer, more inclusive, and united communities for all.
Please consider attending an upcoming community ID drive to get one for yourself:
FaithAction ID Drive and Immigrant/Refugee Community Health Fair
Friday, October 28, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Mullin Life Center 706 N. Greene Street, Directly Across from FaithAction
Wednesday, November 9 and Tuesday, December 6
6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Blessed Sacrament Church
1620 Handord Rd., Graham
Saturday, November 12
Location TBD in Robbins, NC
For those who need or would like a FaithAction ID card, all participants must:
- Attend a mandatory orientation at 10am or 1pm
- Provide proof of ID (passport, driver’s license, national ID card, matricula consular or embassy ID)
- Provide proof of address within three months (utility bill, bank statement, medical record, housing lease)