City Launches New Anti-Bias Campaign

Responding to the recent increase in hate crimes, discrimination and harassment, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner of Human Rights Carmelyn P. Malalis announced on May 23 a new citywide campaign reminding residents of their rights and – implicitly – of their responsibility to respect the rights of others.

“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 Malalis. There was an increase of 60 percent in reports of discrimination to the city’s Commission on Human Rights in 2016, and the numbers continue to rise this year.

The new campaign features ads, PSA videos, and community events with the tag line “You Do Have the Right” and the hashtag #YouHaveRightsNYC.

According to a press release accompanying the announcement, 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 Alarabi, 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.

A number of events are scheduled that are tied to the campaign: On June 15, an Interfaith LGBT Iftar Dinner will be held at The LGBT Center 218 W. 13th St.  The Commission is joining  LGBTQ and Muslim groups to co-sponsor the iftar, which will celebrate Pride & Ramadan.

A “Loving Staten Island” dinner will be held June 18 to bring together Staten Islanders from different neighborhoods, faith traditions, and ethnic backgrounds to discuss and combat discrimination. Other events are planned in Brooklyn and Queens. For more information check the site of the NYC Commission on Human Rights.

City officials endorsed the campaign.

“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. She encouraged individuals who have experienced discrimination to file 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.”

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