Arizona Faith Network celebrates passage of new ID card law

The Arizona Faith Network, a URI Cooperation Circles based in Phoenix, Arizona, shares their excitement about a new city-wide ID card that they advocated for.

By Ms. Sandra Weir and Rev. Erin Tamayo

Have you heard the news? Last week, the Phoenix City Council voted to make the One PHX Identification Card available to city residents, expanding access to city services and promoting community safety.

We at Arizona Faith Network are blessed to serve as a part of the coalition behind these efforts, following the leadership of Ms. Viridiana Hernandez Soto, Executive Director of the Center for Neighborhood Leadership and AFN Board Member.

“AFN played a vital role by connecting the One PHX ID coalition with additional partners. The immigrant rights activists became more connected to faith communities, and the coalition was able to point to support by a large number of religious denominations and individual congregations. Over the course of the campaign many faith leaders spoke enthusiastically about the ID at forums and meetings.

In addition, several members of AFN have expert knowledge about the difficulties faced by particular groups in establishing their identity as residents of Phoenix. Those leaders shared their knowledge and networks generously, resulting in advocacy for One PHX ID on behalf of the previously incarcerated, refugees, homeless persons, and the different labeled.

Further, there are many persons whose identity includes the intersection of several characteristics that put them at risk of not being recognized as a member of our community.” Viridiana Hernandez Soto.

Arizona Faith Network adopted the 1 PHX ID early in 2015 after we were approached by immigrant rights leaders to organize a meeting of faith leaders around community needs regarding identification. The re-sponse at that meeting was so positive that we subsequently invited Viridiana Hernandez to give a presentation at our board meeting in March of 2015.

“Signing on to these efforts was not only important to AFN in order to respond to the needs of the community but it also helped us as an organization be able to reflect on our own understanding of “community,” who we were and what we want to become.” Executive Director, Rev. Erin Tamayo.

One of Arizona Faith Network’s first events was the community conversation “We are All in Community Together” where respected interfaith leaders shared regarding the importance of “community” from their own traditions. The event also featured the first-hand accounts of individuals who would greatly benefit from a Municipal ID and a call to action in support.

“The community conversation “We are All in Community Together,” event was monumental in establishing our own identity as an organization. It said first of all, we are now an interfaith organization; we have expanded our partnerships with the faith community and look to be more inclusive, developing new relationships and gaining new understandings. Just as important, it said, we are looking to help bring about positive change in our communities, not by marching forth alone but instead, by partnering with others who have experienced the need for change and who welcome the faith community around the table.” Rev. Tamayo

Throughout the last 20 months, Arizona Faith Network has had the opportunity to speak at various City Council Sub-Committee Meetings and full Council Meetings. We have written numerous letters in support and have encouraged our board members and organizational partners to do so as well.

We have taken part in delegations to council members, have attended press conferences and even took part in a march to City Hall when measures seemed to be stalled in bringing this initiative forward. The 1 Phx ID was even featured at denominational events around the state and at both of our annual meetings.

afn-2AFN has been blessed to be invited to serve on the coalition responsible for developing strategy and support for the 1 PHX ID efforts, under the leadership of Center For Neighborhood Leadership and Ms. Hernandez. As AFN has gotten to know the great work of CNL, our understanding of what we are looking for in partner organizations has solidified and we now lift up CNL as a prime example of what we are searching for in terms of our mission: “Being Together, Talking Together, Acting Together.”

What are the Next Steps?

The ID program will launch in February of 2017, with preregistration beginning in December of this year. The cost of the ID will be around $25 and will most likely be issued at two key locations in the city.

AFN will continue to serve as a strong member of the coalition, helping to promote the ID, sharing information with our faith communities on where the card can be obtained and how this will continue to benefit our community.

“It is my hope that this initiative which will benefit so many within the City of Phoenix will now soon be adopted by other municipalities and counties within the State of Arizona. Working together, may we expand our community efforts, partnering with others throughout the state to lift up the needs that have been expressed concerning the need for valid ID for all!” Erin Tamayo

Members and partners of Arizona Faith Network are invited to two events coming up soon to publicize and sustain the momentum toward implementation of the One PHX ID:

Press Conference

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at 12:00 p.m.
Outside Phoenix City Hall, 200 W.
Washington St. Phoenix
City Council has been invited to gather with the coalition and the public to

provide inform on the significance of the One PHX ID and the opportunity for individuals to pre-register in late 2016, and to have an ID in hand by February 2017. Open to the public, no RSVP.

Community Celebration

Thursday, October 6
from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.,
location to be determined.

The celebration will include dinner and a discussion of next steps, including opportunities for AFN involvement. Invitations soon, with more information and RSVP.