Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday a toll-free hotline that New Yorkers can call to report bias and discrimination across the state – the first state in the U.S. to pass a Human Rights Law.
People who call the hotline will be able to file a complaint with the Division of Human Rights, Cuomo’s office said. Cuomo also said he is investigating hate crimes and sending a letter to the State Education Department requesting schools “hold trainings to combat intolerance and safeguard New York’s students.”
Under state law, a person commits a hate crime when one of a specified set of offenses is committed targeting a victim because of a perception or belief about their race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation, or when such an act is committed as a result of that type of perception or belief. Hate crimes can be perpetrated against an individual, a group of individuals or against public or private property. Also under state law it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion, ethnicity and many other protected classifications.
“New York serves as a beacon of hope and opportunity for all, and we will continue to stand up to those who seek to spread the politics of division, fear and hate,” Cuomo said. “This state celebrates our differences because we know that it is the rich fabric of cultures and customs that makes this one of the greatest, most diverse places in the world.
“We will continue to work with our local partners to investigate all incidents of reported bias, and ensure that New Yorkers feel safe and protected. Any acts of discrimination or intimidation will be met with the full force of the law.”
New Yorkers who have experienced bias or discrimination are encouraged to call the hotline at (888) 392-3644 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you want to report a crime or fear for your safety, call 911 immediately.