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Friday, April 10, 2020 7:14 pm

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Hotline to combat Coronavirus hate crimes and xenophobic rhetoric

Individuals who have experienced hate crimes and bias-based incidents are encouraged to call the ongoing hotline at 1-800-771-7755, or e-mail Civil.Rights@ag.ny.gov 

Attorney General Letitia James

New York City – Attorney General Letitia James has announced the launch of a hotline for New Yorkers to report hate crimes and bias-based incidents. The hotline, which will continue indefinitely, comes in the wake of rising reports of harassment and assaults, as well as rhetoric against Asian Americans amidst the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“As we face an unprecedented and uncertain time for New York, the United States, and the world, we must reiterate the fact that this pandemic does not give anyone an excuse to be racist, xenophobic, or biased,” said  James. “No one should live in fear for their life because of who they are, what they look like, or where they come from. I encourage all victims of discriminatory actions stemming from this pandemic to contact my office. We will continue to work with local law enforcement to combat hate in all its insidious forms.”

“During this public health crisis, people are fighting for their lives – fighting to keep their families safe. Yet these incessant, irresponsible, and atrocious naming of COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus” is endangering the lives of Asian Americans. I thank Attorney General James for setting up this necessary hotline for New Yorkers to report coronavirus-related hate crimes or biased-based incidents,” said U.S. Representative Grace Meng. “I have repeatedly called on public officials — from the president to the top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives — to abstain from using derogatory language that demonizes Asian Americans. This must stop. Public officials —and the media — must speak truth to power and refrain from dabbling in misinformation or conspiracy theories. I’m urging all New Yorkers to come together, call virus the coronavirus, and report to the hotline those who would use this uncertain time to make racist, xenophobic or biased attacks.”

Although local law enforcement is responsible for criminally prosecuting these perpetrators, the attorney general’s office is taking on this issue in other ways, including connecting victims and impacted communities to available resources, launching civil investigations, and supporting local law enforcement, among other steps.

Those experiencing hate crimes and bias incidences are asked to report them by e-mailing the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Bureau at civil.rights@ag.ny.gov, or calling 1-800-771-7755.

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