2020 Press Releases

Face Mask Exemption Cards Are Fraudulent, Cannot Be Used in NYC Businesses

Statement from the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, NYC Health Department, and the NYC Commission on Human Rights

“The City of New York has become aware of the distribution of cards appearing to bear the seal of the U.S. Department of Justice and stating that individuals are 'exempt' from the face covering requirements because of a disability. We want to be clear: These cards are fraudulent. Businesses cannot require them or rely on them, and New Yorkers cannot use them.”

NYC Unity Project and NYC Commission on Human Rights Statement on Historic Supreme Court Ruling Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia

“Today, the New York City Commission on Human Rights and the NYC Unity Project join lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities nationwide in celebrating an historic and long overdue victory. By declaring that discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation are forms of illegal sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed a core truth that we in New York City have recognized for decades.”

NYC Commission on Human Rights Announces Investigation Into Central Park Incident

“At a time when the devastating impacts of racism in Black communities have been made so painfully clear—from racial disparities in COVID-19 outcomes, to harassment of essential workers on the frontlines—it is appalling to see these types of ugly threats directed at one New Yorker by another," said Sapna V. Raj, Deputy Commissioner of the Law Enforcement Bureau at the NYC Commission on Human Rights. "Efforts to intimidate Black people by threatening to call law enforcement draw on a long, violent and painful history, and they are unacceptable. We encourage Ms. Cooper to cooperate with the Commission and meaningfully engage in a process to address the harm that she has caused."

NYC Commission on Human Rights Launches $100,000 Public Education Effort to Combat COVID-19-Related Stigma Amid Soaring Reports of Discrimination

“The COVID-19 crisis is challenging us all to confront the legacy of structural racism and bias in every aspect of public life," said Carmelyn P. Malalis, Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights. "In addition to disparities laid bare by this crisis, it is a bitter injustice that many of the workers deemed essential to the core functions of our City are themselves or their loved ones facing disparate health outcomes, or are victims of discrimination or harassment because they must work throughout this crisis. No one has been unaffected by illness, economic hardship, or the anxiety caused by social isolation. As we continue to fight the spread of this disease, this public education effort underscores the Commission's resolve to fighting discrimination and harassment and serve as a resource for all New Yorkers in this extraordinary time.”

NYC Commission on Human Rights Announces Formation of COVID-19 Response Team To Address Increased Harassment and Discrimination Related to the Virus, April 19, 2020

“In this time of unparalleled crisis, the NYC Commission on Human Rights is dedicated to responding to and investigating reports of bias, harassment and discrimination related to the COVID-19 outbreak in our city,” said Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, Carmelyn P. Malalis. “In order to best serve New Yorkers during these uncertain times, we have created a dedicated COVID-19 Response Team. Our team of Law Enforcement Bureau and Community Relations Bureau staff are synchronizing their efforts to track and respond to these reports quickly, intervening immediately where possible, and filing cases where necessary. All New Yorkers are facing extraordinary levels of stress right now; discrimination and harassment should not be among them. Even in the midst of a pandemic, human rights cannot be violated, and we encourage anyone who has experienced COVID-19- related discrimination to report it to us.”

Statement from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the New York City Commission on Human Rights regarding the FDA Blood Donation Guidelines Revision, April 6, 2020

"The news of the FDA easing its restrictions on blood donation by gay and bisexual men and those who have sex with bisexual men is welcome. This was a policy rooted in bigotry and overcome by science. While there is more to do, it is a step in the right direction and a credit to the advocates who fought for this victory.

The ban on blood donation by gay and bisexual men was enacted in the 1980s under the administration of a president who refused to acknowledge the AIDS crisis as one affecting all Americans, instead blaming one marginalized community and refusing research, testing, and medical resources until it was so widespread as to be uncontainable.

Reducing the required celibacy period from these groups to donate blood from 12 months to 3 months will enable millions more people to donate blood in this time of desperate need. A policy steeped in long-held misconceptions, however, is still a policy in need of reconsideration. Shorter deferral periods should be based on science, accurate testing, and a risk assessment of a person’s sexual activity—not a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

We urge the FDA to adopt a revised policy that eliminates discrimination and allows for as many blood donors as possible in our greatest hour of need."

NYC Commission on Human Rights Issues Statement on the Operations of the Samaritan's Purse Field Hospital in Central Park, March 31, 2020

"The New York City Commission on Human Rights enforces the New York City Human Rights Law, one of the most protective in the nation with over 25 protected classes,” said Carmelyn P. Malalis, Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights. “The full force of our law remains in effect and we must continue to uphold our mandate to protect the human rights of all New Yorkers, perhaps now more than ever. We encourage anyone who has been the victim of discrimination in New York City to report to the Commission by dialing 311 and asking for human rights.”

NYC Commission on Human Rights Launches Youth Programming Initiative to Reach 5,000 Students

"Youth leaders are human rights leaders. Today's leaders and tomorrow's young people need to be empowered to stand up for their rights and take action in their communities," said Carmelyn P. Malalis, Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights. "The launch of Youth for Equity and Solidarity will allow young people across this city to lead the human rights conversation for the next generation, and become stewards of change to ensure an equitable city for all."

NYC Commission on Human Rights Launches Public Education Campaign to Combat Anti-Semitism and Support Jewish Communities, 02/19/20

“Every New Yorker has the right to practice their religion, celebrate with loved ones, and be who they are proudly and without fear of harassment, discrimination, or violence,” said Carmelyn P. Malalis, Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights. “The alarming rate of anti-Semitic incidents in New York City — and the violent attacks in nearby communities like Jersey City, NJ and Monsey, NY— are unacceptable. The NYC Commission on Human Rights rejects anti-Semitism and we are committed to eradicating this bigotry wherever it exists. New York City is a city for all of us. Its strength lies in its diversity, in how we come together to celebrate and look out for one another.”

NYC Commission on Human Rights Settles With Prada Over Merchandise Containing Racist Imagery in Landmark Case Mandating Comprehensive Programs To Combat Anti-Black Racism, 02/05/20

“I am so proud of the work of the NYC Commission on Human Rights on this conciliation agreement,” said Carmelyn P. Malalis, Chair and Comissioner of the New York City Commission on Human Rights. “Every day our staff strive to better the lives of New Yorkers and create lasting impact to strengthen human rights. Today’s conciliation does exactly that – it recognizes the harm of racist iconography, demands accountability from Italy to New York City , and charts a path forward to greater inclusion and respect for Black people. The restorative justice measures required in this settlement may today be considered unconventional for law enforcement, but my hope is that government, here in New York City and Across the country, continue to think outside the box to address and remedy historical and current harms perpetrated through anti-Black racism.”