Ac­tivist to ad­dress busi­ness meet­ing

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Paul Kirby pkirby@free­manon­

KINGSTON, N.Y. >> An im­mi­grant ac­tivist says he will at­tempt soon to draw sup­port from the city’s busi­ness com­mu­nity for, among other things, im­ple­men­ta­tion of a mu­nic­i­pal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram.

Jonathan Bix, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of No­body Leaves Mid-Hud­son, is ex­pected to de­liver his mes­sage to the fall meet­ing of the Busi­ness Al­liance of Kingston to be held Thurs­day, Oct. 18. It will take place at the the Re­her Cen­ter for Im­mi­grant Cul­ture and His­tory, 99-101 Broad­way, in the Ron­d­out.

Bix is one of two fea­tured speak­ers.

The other is Emma Kr­ey­che, se­nior worker rights ad­vo­cate at the Worker Jus­tice Cen­ter of New York.

“The Busi­ness Al­liance of Kingston (BAK) is aware of the im­por­tant work No­body Leaves Mid-Hud­son has been do­ing to help res­i­dents of the Mid-Hud­son Val­ley re­ceive more eq­ui­table treat­ment, par­tic­u­larly around the is­sue of win­ter­time util­ity shut­offs,” said Tapiwa Muronda, the Busi­ness Al­liance of Kingston pres­i­dent. “We wel­come them to Mid­town and have in­vited them to share their work with the busi­ness com­mu­nity.”

Muronda re­ferred to the lo­ca­tion of an of­fice for No­body Leaves Mid-Hud­son at the Mil­lard Build­ing in Mid­town.

Muronda added that the “Worker Jus­tice Cen­ter pro­vides as­sis­tance to many mem­bers of the com­mu­nity, and we would like to learn more about their mis­sion and track record of ser­vice.”

Specif­i­cally, Bix said he will en­cour­age busi­ness lead­ers to sup­port two ini­tia­tives in­clud­ing the mu­nic­i­pal ID pro­gram. The Kingston Com­mon Coun­cil is con­sid­er­ing es­tab­lish­ing such a pro­gram.

“We’re ask­ing for busi­ness sup­port on (1) the Kingston mu­nic­i­pal ID, (2) the statewide cam­paign we’re a leader in about ex­pand­ing driver’s li­cense ac­cess to un­doc­u­mented peo­ple,” Bix said in an email.

Bix added that the Kingston Mu­nic­i­pal ID pro­gram would ben­e­fit busi­ness.

He pointed out that such ben­e­fits have oc­curred in other cities where mu­nic­i­pal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams ex­ist.

“Over 20 cities around the coun­try al­ready have mu­nic­i­pal IDs (in­clud­ing NYC, LA, Oak­land, San Fran­cisco, Chicago, Prov­i­dence, and New Haven),” Bix wrote. “In th­ese cities, busi­nesses have played a cru­cial role in pop­u­lar­iz­ing the card and in­creased their cus­tomer base by giv­ing dis­counts to card­hold­ers.”

“We’d love to see Kingston busi­nesses fol­low suit by of­fer­ing dis­counts at­tached to the Kingston Mu­nic­i­pal ID,” Bix said. “And we’d also love to see Kingston banks fol­low the lead of many banks in other cities and ac­cept the ID: there are cur­rently more than 75 credit union and bank branches in NYC that take NYC’s mu­nic­i­pal ID as valid iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.”

Ear­lier this month, the Com­mon Coun­cil, unan­i­mously adopted a res­o­lu­tion stat­ing its in­tent to pur­sue a mu­nic­i­pal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion card pro­gram.

Spe­cific leg­is­la­tion is ex­pected to be de­vel­oped by the city’s Cor­po­ra­tion Coun­sel’s of­fice.

Jonathan Bix

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