CONTEXT: Over the spring of 2016 Justice United leaders organized a series of house meetings that engaged 153 Orange County Latino residents.
The house meetings surfaced a top community concern: since 2008 Latino drivers in Orange and Chatham County have paid over $1.3 million in fees and fines for driving without a license after a change in state policy rendered them ineligible to apply or renew their licenses (NC drivers now must have a social security number in order to apply). 73% of all drivers ticketed for no license from 2008 - 2015 were Latino.
A significant percentage of citations issued for no operators license were issued to Latino drivers whose sole charge was driving without a license - otherwise safe drivers not committing any moving violations or other unsafe behavior.
Justice United has committed to resolve this issue. We have determined that District Attorney James Woodall has the power to help reduce fees and fines for unlicensed, yet otherwise safe drivers.
At our September 15 Assembly Woodall pledged to work with JU to develop a solution to this issue. Since then members of the Policing Action Team have had several meetings with Woodall to negotiate this solution.
PROPOSAL: Justice United member institutions support a follow up Assembly on March 28 at which the District Attorney will outline a solution to this issue.
It is important that we turnout in large numbers to demonstrate our power to keep this deal.
PROPOSED CAMPAIGN TO STRENGTHEN COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS WITH POLICE
POLITICAL CONTEXT: There is a history of biased policing in Orange County. Data from 2002 - 2013 shows Black drivers are roughly twice as likely to be searched than White drivers by Carrboro, Chapel Hill Police and Orange County Sheriff Dept.
Otherwise law abiding Latino immigrants are often fined for driving without a license ($238 / ticket), which undermines trust with local law enforcement (drivers without a social security number are unable to obtain a license after a state policy decision in 2006 reversed a 20 year precedent of providing drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants). In 2014, Latino drivers across NC paid $3.14 million for this charge alone.
PROPOSAL: Negotiate solution with local law enforcement that supports public safety and strengthens relationships with immigrant drivers, people of color.
This campaign will culminate in a 300 person strong public assembly on September 15, 7:00 - 9:00 PM, St. Thomas More Catholic Church.