AG James Launches Hotline to Combat Coronavirus Hate Crimes and Xenophobic Rhetoric

Individuals Who Have Experienced Hate Crimes and Bias-Based Incidents Are Encouraged to Call the Ongoing Hotline at 1-800-771-7755, or Email Civil.Rights@ag.ny.gov 

NEW YORK – Attorney General Letitia James [on March 23, 2020] announced the launch of a hotline for New Yorkers to report hate crimes and bias-based incidents. The hotline, which will continue indefinitely, comes in the wake of rising reports of harassment and assaults, as well as rhetoric against Asian Americans amidst the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. 

“As we face an unprecedented and uncertain time for New York, the United States, and the world, we must reiterate the fact that this pandemic does not give anyone an excuse to be racist, xenophobic, or biased,” said Attorney General James. “No one should live in fear for their life because of who they are, what they look like, or where they come from. I encourage all victims of discriminatory actions stemming from this pandemic to contact my office. We will continue to work with local law enforcement to combat hate in all its insidious forms.”

In the last week alone, there have been numerous reports in New York of Asian Americans being harassed or physically assaulted as a result of this pandemic. The last several weeks have also seen a rise in anti-Asian rhetoric through the use of terms such as ‘Chinese virus,’ creating a stigma around Asian communities. This comes on the heels of a record number of hate crimes over the past several months in New York, demonstrating the urgent need for action. The Attorney General’s Office, in its commitment to combating these heinous acts, implores everyone, from everyday New Yorkers, to individuals at the highest levels of government, to stand united against hate, now more than ever.

“During this public health crisis, people are fighting for their lives – fighting to keep their families safe. Yet these incessant, irresponsible, and atrocious naming of COVID-19 as the ‘Chinese virus’ or ‘Wuhan virus’ is endangering the lives of Asian Americans. I thank Attorney General James for setting up this necessary hotline for New Yorkers to report coronavirus-related hate crimes or biased-based incidents,” said U.S. Representative Grace Meng. “I have repeatedly called on public officials – from the President to the top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives – to abstain from using derogatory language that demonizes Asian Americans. This must stop. Public officials – and the media – must speak truth to power and refrain from dabbling in misinformation or conspiracy theories. I’m urging all New Yorkers to come together, call virus the coronavirus, and report to the hotline those who would use this uncertain time to make racist, xenophobic or biased attacks.”

“Long scapegoated and cast as ‘yellow peril,’ Asian Americans are besieged on two fronts by the COVID-19 contagion, with outbreaks of ignorance and bigotry sometimes inflicting more harm than the virus itself,” said State Senator John Liu. “More and more hateful incidents are occurring, ranging from distasteful gestures to obnoxious name-calling to outright violence against Asian-Americans — and despicably condoned by the president himself. The battle against the coronavirus has actually brought out the best among New Yorkers but it is necessary to remind some not to let fear of the unknown devolve into irrational and inexcusable hate, and we thank beloved Attorney General Tish James for leading the charge on this front as well.”

“Currently our community is dealing with COVID-19, a global pandemic — but our community is also facing another virus: extreme anti-Asian xenophobia,” said State Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou. “While we battle this crisis, it has become abundantly clear that the coronavirus does not discriminate based on race. Yet, people are using COVID-19 as an excuse to perpetuate racism and xenophobia throughout New York and the entire country. There have been so many reports of Asian Americans being attacked because they were just riding the subway or wearing a face mask. The attacks are hateful, and go out of their way to blame our community. It is important that we stand together and remain educated on the growing emergency. Together we must stop the spread of the unfounded harmful stereotypes and hateful words that people are using to demonize our Asian American community through thoughtful and reasonable discussions. Thank you to the Attorney General for setting up a hotline to address and to better support our community through this devastating time of unfounded xenophobia and hate crimes against our community.”

Although local law enforcement is responsible for criminally prosecuting these perpetrators, the Attorney General’s Office is taking on this issue in other ways, including connecting victims and impacted communities to available resources, launching civil investigations, and supporting local law enforcement, among other steps.

The Attorney General urges those experiencing hate crimes and bias incidences to report them by emailing the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Bureau at civil.rights@ag.ny.gov, or calling 1-800-771-7755. 

Access to Information for Asylee Eligibility for ORR Assistance and Services

The Office of Refugee Resettlement (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) has moved from a telephone Hotline to a web-based interface to offer information for asylees seeking benefits and services supported by ORR.  Please note that the toll-free Asylee Hotline number listed on the asylum grant letter is no longer in service.

Instead, please visit the ORR website, where you will find the poster below, with a link to “Asylee Eligibility for Assistance and Services”, and fact sheets in eight languages (plus English).

Contact information for local service providers can be found on the ORR Map; click your state for full details.

Please visit http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/orr for more information, and distribute widely within your networks.

NYS Bar Association Sets Up Legal Hotline to Assist Storm Victims

From the NYSBA website:

1-800-699-5636 Toll-free Number for Legal Questions

New Yorkers with legal problems related to Superstorm Sandy can receive free advice from volunteer lawyers through a program sponsored by the New York State Bar Association, President Seymour W. James, Jr. announced today.

“We know there will be a great need for legal assistance in the coming weeks,” said James (The Legal Aid Society in New York City). “We are grateful to attorneys who go above and beyond to serve their communities.”

Volunteer attorneys will answer storm-related questions about insurance, real estate issues (landlord-tenant and other property disputes) and general legal matters, such as replacing missing wills and other documents.

Storm victims seeking legal advice can call a toll-free hotline: 1-800-699-5636. They will receive the name and phone number of a volunteer attorney. Callers will be eligible for a free legal consultation of up to 30 minutes, either by phone or in person.

Individuals whose applications for emergency assistance are rejected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be able to speak with an attorney about how to appeal the decision.

The Association’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) is coordinating the program in partnership with the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division. They are working closely with local bar associations, legal assistance providers, community programs and local officials in storm-battered areas of the state.

Attorneys wishing to volunteer can visit  www.nysba.org/DisasterVolunteerSandy or call 518-463-3200.    

888-API-VOTE Hotline

APIAVoteheader   November 5, 2012  

888-API-VOTE Hotline
Phone lines are open now
 
While enthusiasm for voting is high, voting can be a complicated process, even more so if your first language is not English.  So, it is important for Asian Americans to learn about voting – what type of ID is accepted at the polls, what rights you have when voting – especially the right to language assistance, and what to do if you encounter any problems at the polls.
 
To help Asian Americans vote, AAJC and APIAVote will be running an Asian-language Election Protection hotline, 1-888-API-VOTE (274-8683). on Election Day and the day before Election Day. The hotline will be live from 7:00am -7:00pm on Monday, November 5, and from 5:30am – 7:30pm on Tuesday, November 6.  We will provide assistance in Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, Thai, and Vietnamese.
 
Voters can call in with any questions they have about voting, or to report any problems at the polls.  Questions such as, “where is my polling place?” and “what type of ID should I bring?” can be easily answered by our staff.  Trained staff is also on hand to address any problems that may arise.  For example, if you have difficulty with English, you have the right to bring a friend or family member into the voting booth to help you vote, but not all poll workers may know about this right (as provided by Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act) and may wrongly turn people away.  

If a poll worker wrongly turns you away from the polls because of this or refuses to allow you to vote with the assistance of your choice, call 1-888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683) and we can help you address the issue so that you can vote.  In fact, if anyone calls your eligibility to vote into question or tries to hinder your ability to vote for any reason, call 1-888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683) and someone will be able to assist you.