New York, NY – NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYC Commission on Human Rights today launched a citywide anti-discrimination campaign affirming New Yorkers’ right to live, work, and pray free from discrimination and harassment.
The campaign, which includes ads, PSA videos, and community events, follows a 60 percent increase in reports of discrimination to the NYC Commission on Human Rights in 2016, a trend that continues into 2017.
“It is now more important than ever for New Yorkers to stand united as one city and reject hatred and intolerance,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “In New York City, our diversity is our strength. It does not matter where we come from, who we love or who we worship. We are all New Yorkers, and deserve to be treated with dignity. Regardless of the national rhetoric, we have absolutely no tolerance for discrimination in our City.”
“NYC welcomes people of all cultures and orientations, and strives to continue that tradition, regardless of what goes on elsewhere in the world,” said First Lady of NYC Chirlane McCray, who leads the ThriveNYC mental health effort. “I am delighted that we now have a citywide campaign that encourages inclusiveness and understanding.”
“Every New Yorker has the right to be themselves without being discriminated against, no matter where they come from, what language they speak, who they love, or their religious faith,” said Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, Carmelyn P. Malalis. “At a time when bias incidents are on the rise, this campaign sends a clear message to all New Yorkers that they do have the right to live free from discrimination and harassment and that NYC has your back. In this city, we are all New Yorkers. No one has permission to discriminate against you or your community. If they do, rest assured that the NYC Commission on Human Rights will hold them accountable.”
“No matter what country you’re from, the color of your skin, your religious tradition or immigration status, New York City stands with you,” said Nisha Agarwal, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “This anti-discrimination campaign is another demonstration of that fact and we will continue our work alongside the NYC Commission on Human Rights and with ethnic and community media to ensure that this message reaches New Yorkers across the city in many different languages. New Yorkers will not tolerate harassment or discrimination. We encourage filing complaints to the NYC Commission on Human Rights so that we can better protect all New Yorkers.”
“There’s no place for hate or bias in our City,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “At a time where bias incidents are rising at alarming rates across our nation, this campaign reminds us that all New Yorkers have a right to feel safe and secure.
I want to thank the administration and the NYC Commission on Human Rights for their commitment to eliminate intolerance and prejudice in our city and for their continued partnership with the City Council to make New York a more fair and justice city for all people.”
The ads feature six individuals standing up to scenarios of discrimination and harassment commonly experienced by vulnerable New Yorkers, including Jewish, Muslim, Hispanic, Asian, Black, and LGBTQ New Yorkers, and affirms their right to pray, speak, and live in New York City without discrimination or harassment. The ads also remind victims that the Commission is here to help and urges people to contact the Commission at 718-722-3131 to report discrimination.
Campaign ads will appear in English and Spanish in more than 3,400 placements citywide over the next six weeks, including on subway cars and stations, bus shelters, Staten Island Ferry terminals, LinkNYC kiosks, houses of worship, laundromats, barber shops, and nail salons. The ads will also appear in 25 ethnic and community newspapers and radio stations in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Arabic, Bengali, Russian, and Haitian Creole, including El Diario, World Journal, Allewaa Al-Arabi, Jewish Press, Amsterdam News, Thikana, and Radio Soleil and Davidzon Radio among others. The digital component of the campaign includes three videos which will run on Hulu, YouTube, Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, NYC TV and Taxi TV, as well as native ads on several online publications and across digital media. Later in the summer, the campaign will be expanded to on-location posters in neighborhoods citywide in at least five languages in addition to English and Spanish.
The campaign follows a significant increase in reports of discrimination and bias incidents in NYC to the NYC Commission on Human Rights, as well as an increase in investigations resulting from those reports.
The Commission saw a 60 percent increase in overall reports of discrimination in 2016, a trend that continues into 2017.
Reports of discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, and immigration status increased by 30 percent in 2016.
The Commission is currently investigating 30 percent more complaints of discrimination than this time last year, with more than 1,600 current open cases of discrimination compared to 1,200 in May 2015.
More than 40 percent of all open cases at the Commission (more than 700 cases) involve discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, and immigration status.
In fact, the Commission has more than doubled the number of investigations into race, religion, national origin, and immigration status over the last two years, filing 823 complaints in those areas in 2016 and 2015 combined compared to 418 complaints in 2014 and 2013 combined.
Given the rise in reports of discrimination, the Commission has increased its public outreach efforts to inform vulnerable New Yorkers about their rights, including hosting “Know Your Rights” events around the city, subway outreach efforts in all five boroughs, the launch of anti-discrimination ads on NYC transit mobile apps, the creation of a Bias Response Team, and the expansion of the Commission’s Infoline. The Commission has also increased its internal language capacity to 29 spoken languages, up from just six two years ago. The campaign announced today is part of the City’s continued effort to inform vulnerable communities about their rights.
Over the next six weeks, the Commission will host a series of community events tied to the campaign to further educate the City’s diverse communities about their rights and how to file discrimination complaints with the Commission. These “You Do Have the Right in Your Neighborhood” events range from panel discussions on race, faith, culture, and human rights to festivals that celebrate diverse communities and the values that unite them and make them stronger against discrimination. For a full list of events, including times and locations, visit NYC.gov/YouHaveRights.
If you or someone you know believes they are the victim of discrimination or harassment, call 311 and ask for NYC Commission on Human Rights or call the Commission’s Infoline at 718-722-3131. For more information about the campaign including full community events details, visit NYC.gov/YouHaveRights and follow @NYCCHR on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.