Seated next to NYC’s First Lady, MRNY member Esmeralda Valencia applauds Mayor de Blasio’s announcement of a municipal ID cards program during the State of the City address. Photo: Rob Bennet/NYC Mayor’s Office
Imagine not being able to do something as basic as pick up your child from school because you don’t have government-issued identification. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who lack ID face daily barriers to basic programs and services that others take for granted, and many in marginalized communities live in fear of being stopped by police without ID.
Our work made the front page of the New York Times yesterday after Mayor de Blasio announced a plan to establish New York City IDs during his State of the City address. A central civil rights issue for immigrant, youth, elderly, and homeless New Yorkers, having a City-issued ID card that is accepted by all municipal government agencies would give these groups the opportunity to engage in our city’s civic and economic life — like the ability to open a bank account, sign a rental lease, file a police report, enroll their children in school, or access healthcare. For transgender New Yorkers like MRNY member Jessica Guaman, having a municipal ID card would mean no longer having to fear police harassment because of an ID that does not match her gender.
In his speech, Mayor de Blasio also highlighted other progressive policy goals that MRNY members have spent years working to realize. He commended small business owner and MRNY member Esmeralda Valencia (pictured above) for providing her employees with paid sick days, and reaffirmed his plan to expand paid sick days legislation. He acknowledged the hard work of parent leader and MRNY member Rocio Espada, a single mother with four children, and reiterated his commitment to universal pre-K. And, he announced plans to press for a higher local minimum wage, which would have a profound impact on all New York City’s working poor.
Your support has gotten us to this exciting moment. But, as we are already seeing with Universal Pre-K, the opposition and obstacles against municipal IDs will mount, and that is why groups like Make the Road New York are so important. Will you chip in $5 today to ensure these commitments become reality?
Municipal ID cards, paid sick days, Universal Pre-K, and a local minimum wage are just a few of the things we want this administration to tackle. We must keep fighting to make New York a national leader for civil rights and economic justice.
Thank you to City Council Members Daniel Dromm and Carlos Menchaca, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and the broad coalition of groups who are working together to make municipal ID cards a reality.
Watch the State of the City, beginning with the national anthem sung by MRNY member Juliana Betancur (starts at 2:53):