The FaithID initiative, which started with the FaithAction program in Greensboro, aims to provide people who have issues attaining government-issued identification. This was the first FaithID card drive in Orange County.
El Centro Hispano, the backbone of the initiative, is a nonprofit organization with offices in Durham and Chapel Hill. It provides services for health, education and community organizing and social advocacy.
Maria Cantu, a FaithID applicant, said she needed the ID to have something to show law enforcement.
“When we get stopped by the police, we have to have something to show them with our name and address,” Cantu said. “We need them to trust us the same way they need us to trust them.”
Police from Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Orange County were at the event to answer questions from community members and offer their support throughout the process.
Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said, in addition to the FaithID initiative, the sheriff’s office will hire a bias-based prevention coordinator who will work specifically to prevent bias in local law enforcement.
“It is not our goal to create a hardship on you but to make a partnership with you,” he said.
Carrboro police Chief Walter Horton spoke about his support of the event and answered questions from concerned residents.
“We are not concerned about your immigration status at all. However, we are concerned with your safety,” he said.
Volunteers from the community worked at the event, providing translations, child care and other services.
Maria Palmer, a Chapel Hill Town Council member, volunteered at the event.
She said there were many people in the community who were in need of an accepted form of ID.
“I’m seeing passports from all over,” she said.
At the event, people applying for an ID went through an orientation provided by El Centro Hispano, filled out the application for the FaithID and paid the $10 application fee. If the applications are approved, El Centro Hispano will mail the ID cards to the recipients’ addresses in one to two weeks.