In the midst of the Mid-Autumn Festival, elected officials, officers from the 72nd Precinct and residents of Sunset Park celebrated the growth and significance of IDNYC, a government-issued identification card that is available to all city residents age 14 and older.
The event was held on Thursday, September 24 at the Sunset Park IDNYC Enrollment Site, which has been active for many months.
Among the elected officials, Councilmember Carlos Menchaca discussed the importance of the day, particularly for the Chinese community.
“Today we’re doing a very specific outreach to the Chinese community and Sunset Park,” he told the Home Reporter. “This is a significant part of our district and what this means is that we’re able to take the permanent site that we have here on 43rd Street and connect it to Eighth Avenue where people can walk to. We know this is card that has already transformed hundreds of thousands of lives in New York City, which is why we’re asking people to come the center here in Sunset Park.”
Commanding officer of the 72nd Precinct, Captain Tommy Ng, explained the benefits of the card with respect to community-police relations. “All 35,000 police officers were trained to recognize this as a proper form of legal documentation whenever there’s an encounter with the Police Department, such as a vehicle accident even getting a summons for a minor offense,” he said. “This is a great way to start a relationship with the community, improve the quality of life and identify everyone as an equal resident, especially in Sunset Park where large parts of the population are immigrants.”
“It was long overdue,” said State Senator Jesse Hamilton. “This is a country built by immigrants. We have many people that can now have banking accounts and not be afraid of being stopped by the police because they don’t have any identification.”
After the conference, Ng was among those who signed up for their own IDNYC cards, as they filled out forms and took a photograph.
Recent recipients of the IDNYC card discussed how it has affected them. “I got this card to bring convenience to my day-to-day life,” said Xue-Ting Zhang. “I got my card in July at this very Sunset Park location, It allows me to go to the zoos and Brooklyn Botanical Gardens for free. I told all my friends. I believe every New Yorker should have this card and I encourage everyone to apply.”
“This card can be used to enter schools, interact with local law enforcement and to apply for city service. For the young and the elderly, you can have an emergency contact on the back of the card, and you can list the preferred language,” said Director of IDNYC Outreach Bitta Mostofi. “This card is free this year. And it provides great community benefits.”
BROOKYLN MEDIA GROUP/Photo by Jaime DeJesus