EQUALITY WATCH launched in the wake of reported rise in bias incidents
NEW YORK – The New York Civil Liberties Union today launched EQUALITY WATCH, a first-of-its-kind website that provides New Yorkers who have experienced discrimination with contact and reporting information for public agencies that can investigate and organizations that may be able to help.
When users input basic information about their individual experience, such as where the incident happened and what personal characteristics were the target of discrimination, EQUALITY WATCH draws from thousands of contacts at agencies and organizations to offer tailored results and information.
“President Trump has emboldened the forces of hate in our country and given cover to naked and open white supremacy,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “Since he rode down his Trump Tower escalator three years ago, the NYCLU has been working to resist the corrosive influence of the Trump regime and sought to show that hate has no place in our New York. With EQUALITY WATCH, we want New Yorkers to know they don’t have to remain silent and that there are agencies and organizations that can help.”
Since the election of President Trump, reports of incidents of hate and discrimination have risen. Attacks on Muslims rose 19 percent nationally between 2015 and 2016, and crimes propelled by bias rose 4.6 percent. In New York City alone, the Human Rights Commission received 8,330 reports of alleged human rights violations in 2016, compared to 5,926 in 2015, an increase of nearly 60 percent.
The NYCLU created EQUALITY WATCH to help New Yorkers easily access the full scope of public institutions and organizations available to them when faced with intimidation or discrimination. The NYCLU’s legal intake line regularly receives calls from New Yorkers who’ve experienced discrimination based on race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation, and who do not know where or how to report it.
“Many New Yorkers do not realize they have options when they face discrimination and bias,” said NYCLU Senior Staff Attorney Lisa Laplace. “There are state and local agencies whose responsibility it is to investigate reports of discrimination, and there are dozens of local organizations dedicated to the issues New Yorkers face. Every New Yorker has an equal right to be treated with dignity.”
In addition to providing information drawing from 3,100 contacts at public agencies such as the New York State Division for Human Rights, New York State Office of the Attorney General, New York City Public Advocate’s Office, and nearly 200 organizations like The Door, the Anti-Defamation League, and Council on American Islamic Relations, EQUALITY WATCH can also connect users with a trained NYCLU volunteer who can assist them in filing their complaint.