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Immigrant activist to give keynote address at Business Alliance of Kingston fall meeting

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.