Asian Americans in New York can now report discrimination directly through a hotline established by its state attorney general on Monday.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James has launched the hotline for New Yorkers as hate crimes toward people of Asian descent continue to rise amid the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, NBC reports.
In a statement, James’ office explained that the hotline will help provide resources to victims and aid in civil investigations if necessary. If a criminal prosecution is sought, the case will be handled by local law enforcement.
“No one should live in fear for their life because of who they are, what they look like, or where they come from,” James was quoted as saying.
“With rising reports of harassment & assaults, as well as rhetoric against Asian Americans amidst #coronavirus, I’m launching a hotline for New Yorkers to report hate crimes & bias-based incidents,” James wrote in an Instagram post. “This pandemic does not give anyone an excuse to be racist, xenophobic, or biased.”
“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 ANY discriminatory actions to contact my office: (800) 771-7755 and email at [email protected].”
Cynthia Choi, the Co-Executive Director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, shared that the collected data will help them assess the extent and magnitude of the racist incidents and let them develop strategies to prevent these attacks.
“We want community members to know they are not alone; they can speak out and help stop the spread of bigotry,” she noted.