The Commission’s Community Relations Bureau (“CRB”) promotes understanding and respect among New Yorkers. Its five borough-based Community Service Centers provide resources to help New Yorkers understand their rights and obligations under the City Human Rights Law.
The following are highlights of CRB’s accomplishments in 2018. Keep checking this page for monthly updates, and be sure to follow us on social media for daily happenings.
The Commission, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Office of Council Member Justin Brannan and advocates partnered with the Arab American Association of NY to host a bystander intervention training following a recent bias incident that occurred on the S53 bus from Bay Ridge to Staten Island in which a woman verbally harassed a fellow passenger wearing a hijab with anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant remarks, including threats involving immigration authorities (ICE). The goal of the workshop was to educate New Yorkers on how to successfully and safely disrupt a hostile or aggressive situation they may witness, and to ensure actions are more helpful than harmful. Additionally, participating organizations and City agencies were at the site offering information on resources and assistance and a Commission attorney was also available to explain and answer questions specifics to the Commission’s law enforcement process.
The workshop followed a successful Day of Visibility in which the Commission and partners in government and the community educated New Yorkers about their protections from discrimination and harassment, encouraged reporting, and informed people how to file complaints with the Commission.
The Commission was visible, proud and unstoppable at the 2018 Pride March throughout Manhattan. Commission staff, friends, family and neighbors joined together to distribute flyers and hold signs reaffirming that LGBTQ rights are protected and enforced in New York City. Earlier in June, the Commission launched an advertising campaign across social media and LGBTQ media highlighting LGBTQ protections under the City Human Rights Law. The campaign, which also included branded posters and flyers, ran until the end of June.
Online advertisements supported a new landing page on the Commission's website with information on how to report discrimination, helpful resources and scenarios on how to identify discrimination, the downloadable new advertisements, and a calendar of events where New Yorkers could find our staff and access our resources throughout Pride month. For more information, please visit the campaign landing page.
To relive the Pride March, check out a Facebook album from the event here.
After a video depicting a New York City-based lawyer berating employees at a Fresh Kitchen location in Midtown Manhattan for speaking Spanish began to go viral across social media, the Commission sent its Bias Response Team to the business where the incident happened to ensure that affected parties know their rights under the NYC Human Rights Law and know how to file a complaint at the Commission if they feel they have been the victims of discrimination.
The Commission utilized its digital platforms to affirm the right of all New Yorkers to live free from discrimination and to speak the language they prefer. The Commission also repurposed its #YouHaveRightsNYC campaign and video advertisements that specifically reference a New Yorker’s right to speak Spanish to their children without a business demanding that they “Speak English. This is America.”
The Commission partnered with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) and Community Affairs Unit (CAU), and the NYPD Muslim Officers Society to host the third annual Iftar in the City. Hundreds of New Yorkers from all faiths and walks of life gathered to break bread together and celebrate the rich diversity of our Muslim communities and religious communities as a whole. The event, which took place in Jackson Heights, has grown considerably in size, serving meals to over 650 people this year.
Commissioner Malalis provided remarks to the crowd, focusing on how events like Iftar in the City show the true and welcoming nature of New Yorkers. Other speakers at the event included Council Member Daniel Dromm, NYC Deputy Mayor J. Phillip Thompson, Founder of Women In Islam, Inc. Aisha al-Adawiya, Zaid Nagi of the Yemeni American Merchants Association, Commissioner Bitta Mostofi of MOIA, among others. You can see updates and images from the event by checking out #IftarInTheCity2018 and #IftarInTheCity on Twitter and Instagram.
View the photo album from Iftar in the City.
The Commission celebrated New York City’s Jewish and Sikh communities by hosting its 2nd Annual Interfaith Seder at the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights, and partnering with the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and the Office of the Manhattan Borough President to celebrate the Vaisakhi holiday at the David Dinkins Municipal Building. Both events brought hundreds of New Yorkers together to celebrate immigrant justice and appreciation for New York City’s rich cultural and religious diversity. View photos of the Seder and the Vaisakhi celebrations on Facebook.
The Commission partnered with the Metropolitan College of the City of New York to offer a workshop on the protections that the New York City Human Rights Law offers tenants using lawful sources of income to secure apartments and pay rent to the staffers of local elected officials throughout the Bronx, along with a resource fair focused on housing rights for the South Bronx community at the College on the same day. The Commission also brought its commemoration of Fair Housing Month to Staten Island, where it partnered with several community-based organizations and the Richmond County Domestic Violence Task Force to host a Fair Housing Forum and Resource Fair. Commissioner Malalis offered remarks at the Forum.
The Commission partnered with the Mayor’s Office to host a Citywide Day of Action for Immigrant Justice, conducting literature drops at major transit hubs and hosting mobile outreach and intake centers in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and on Staten Island. In total, the Commission was able to reach over one thousand New Yorkers, providing them with access and resources related to the protections offered to immigrants under the Human Rights Law.
The Commission also took a stand against sexual harassment and assault in April, partnering with the First Lady of New York City to co-host “#NoMoreSilenceNYC” to highlight the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, as well as the Commission’s report, “Combating Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Recommendations and Trends Based on 2017 Public Hearing Testimony”. Commission staff also participated in annual Denim Day commemorations in Manhattan and the Bronx, in order to provide local communities with information and resources regarding protections against gender-based discrimination under the Human Rights Law.
On February 15, the Commission brought together academic and community leaders to host a lively and engaging discussion about human rights in African communities at Jerome Green Hall at Columbia Law School. The discussion ranged in topics from NYC and international human rights law to immigration, fair housing, and the gentrification of traditionally African American neighborhoods.
Also in February, the Commission hosted a panel discussion in Harlem on the topics of race, displacement, and economic justice. The event was attended by community leaders from across New York City and highlighted the needs of communities that are rapidly changing due to gentrification. View a photo album from the event on Facebook.
After a Muslim woman in Brooklyn reported that a number of teenagers harassed her and shouted Islamophobic comments towards her, the Commission's Community Relations Bureau and volunteers conducted a "Day of Action" at the Brooklyn Borough Hall MTA Station to educate community members about legal protections against discriminatory harassment and religious discrimination under the City Human Rights Law and how to report incidents.
The Commission also used its digital channels to draw attention to the activity itself and supportive materials like the #IAmMuslimNYC Fact Sheet.