Bias Response Team

Photo of Jonah and others sitting around a tabl
Photo of Adneri speaking to a parent

Due to the rise of bias incidents and discriminatory harassment seen throughout the country and here in New York City, the Commission relaunched its Bias Response Team in late 2016.

The Bias Response Team engages in efforts to support and help stabilize communities after incidents of bias have occurred. Examples of the Commission’s responses include:

  • distributing literature to local businesses and community centers outlining protections under the City Human Rights Law;
  • partnering with local schools and youth-focused community centers and programs to provide young people with educational programming on empowering members of marginalized groups and standing up to bias;
  • canvassing neighborhoods with local community leaders, elected officials, and community-based organizations;
  • working with sister City agencies on days of action or days of visibility, which are coordinated Citywide outreach efforts to raise awareness on specific issues; and
  • educating impacted community members on their rights and opportunity to file a complaint with the Commission. 

Where appropriate, our Bias Response Team refers incidents to our Law Enforcement Bureau for investigation.

The Commission’s Bias Response Team responded to 235 bias incidents overall in Fiscal Year 2019, nearly one hundred more than last year, including the incidents below:

  • In the fall of 2018, following a series of anti-Semitic incidents in Brooklyn, the Commission’s Bias Response Team launched a multi-pronged approach to engage with the community and respond to the incidents. A day of visibility was conducted in a Hasidic neighborhood on Kingston Avenue in Crown Heights, followed by a day of visibility in Prospect Heights. The events were organized in partnership with the Mayor’s Immigrant Affairs and Repair the World NYC. Commission staff engaged with the community at different transit locations and handed over 2,500 flyers. The flyers had information on the NYC Human Rights Law on one side and on the other side, it had details for an upcoming bystander intervention training the Commission was hosting in Crown Heights.
  • In the Bronx, a Black Muslim woman was harassed by young people on a bus. In response, the Commission, in coordination with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Action Network, the Bronx Borough President’s African Advisory Council, the African Immigrants’ Commission of New York and Connecticut, the Young African Network, and the Guinean Community of America, mobilized a day of visibility to bring awareness to this incident and to educate New Yorkers about their rights under the NYC Human Rights Law.
  • In response to anti-Chinese graffiti in Bensonhurst, the Commission’s Bias Response Team organized a day of visibility in partnership with other City agencies and community partners to create awareness about discrimination and share information on how to report to incidents to the Commission. The Commission was joined by the Mayor’s Immigrant Affairs, Community Affairs Unit, and Public Engagement Unit as well as local community based-organizations, Chinese American Social Services Center, and United Chinese Association of Brooklyn. The agencies and organizations collectively distributed more than 1,000 multi-lingual flyers on protections from discrimination under the NYC Human Rights Law as well as information on how to report incidents in three different locations in Bensonhurst. The Commission’s multi-lingual staff engaged with the community members and many business owners agreed to display the flyers in their store windows. 

To speak to a member of the Bias Response Team, call 718-722-3131.