New Unit Will Implement a Campaign Promoting Acceptance, Inclusion, Tolerance and Understanding of Diversity
Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced that the New York State Division of Human Rights is launching a statewide Hate and Bias Prevention Unit, which is charged with leading public education and outreach efforts, serving as an early warning detection system in local communities, and quickly mobilizing to support areas and communities in which a bias incident has occurred.
“New York State will use every tool at its disposal to eliminate hate and bias from our communities,” Governor Hochul said. “We will not let the rise in hate incidents that we see happening online, across the country and across the world, take root here at home.”
“We cannot allow ignorance, fear, and hatred to damage the enormous amount of work we’ve done to move our state forward,” said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. “The partnerships that we’re building within communities and across the state will ensure what we know to be true which is that love always prevails over hate.”
Division of Human Rights Commissioner Maria L. Imperial said, “Everyone – no matter what color they are, or who they love, or what they believe – should feel safe when they go to work, or go dancing, or visit a house of worship, or send their kids off to school. This new unit will advance our mission of equal opportunity, access, and dignity for all in our state.”
As part of this new Unit’s mandate, the Division is organizing 10 regional councils across the state made up of local stakeholders. These councils will provide a place for community members to share concerns, organize educational programming, host hate crime prevention and community healing events, conduct trainings in conflict resolution, and facilitate the filing of complaints with the Division and other relevant agencies. The Unit also will develop a rapid response team to assist communities affected by a bias or hate incident.
The Hate and Bias Prevention Unit also will be responsible for establishing and implementing a statewide campaign promoting acceptance, inclusion, tolerance, and understanding of diversity, as required by legislation signed in November by Governor Hochul. The campaign will coordinate and cooperate with public and private organizations, including, but not limited to, local governments, community groups, school districts, places of worship, charitable organizations, and foundations and will develop educational materials to be published on the internet, social media, and other platforms to reach the public. The Division also works with the New York State Police to educate New Yorkers on the State’s hate crimes laws.
The announcement builds upon Governor Hochul’s long-standing commitment to combatting hate and violence across the state. The Governor announced $96 million in state and federal funding to safeguard nonprofit, community-based organizations at risk of hate crimes and attacks; $10 million in state funding through the Securing Reproductive Health Centers Program to improve safety and security of patients and employees at reproductive health care centers and abortion services providers that may be at risk of crimes or attacks because of their mission, services, ideology or beliefs; and established within the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services a Domestic Terrorism Prevention Unit and directed $10 million in state grant funds to support county governments as they develop domestic terrorism prevention plans and threat assessment and management teams in the wake of the horrific white supremist attack on the Tops Market in Buffalo.
The Division annually investigates more than 5,000 complaints of discrimination from individuals across the state. The agency also has the authority to initiate investigations and file complaints alleging violations of the state anti-discrimination law and last year, the Division secured more than $6.2 million in monetary damages for individuals who have experienced discrimination. The Division also works with the New York State Police to educate New Yorkers on the State’s hate crimes laws.
New York has the proud distinction of being the first state in the nation to enact a Human Rights Law, affording every citizen “an equal opportunity to enjoy a full and productive life.” The New York State Division of Human Rights is dedicated to eliminating discrimination, remedying injustice, and promoting equal opportunity, access, and dignity through enforcement of the Human Rights Law. Individuals interested in finding out more information or filing a complaint, visit the DHR website.