With reports rising regarding anti-Asian harassment and prejudice amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, New York's attorney general has launched a hotline to report hate crimes.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak began in Wuhan, China and rapidly spread throughout the globe, there has been a rise in reports of xenophobia and racism tied to fears of the virus.
In response, Attorney General Letitia James announced this week that she was launching a crime hotline at 1-800-771-7755. Complaints can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Acts of bigoted and hateful behavior will NOT be tolerated in New York,” James posted on social media. “If you've experienced ANY discriminatory actions, contact my office.”
According to James, in the last week, there have been multiple reports in New York of Asian Americans being harassed or physically assaulted as a result of the pandemic.
In the last several weeks there has also been a rise in anti-Asian rhetoric through the use of terms such as “Chinese virus,” creating a stigma around Asian communities.
“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,” James said.
“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.”
James said the latest measures come on the heels of a record number of hate crimes over the past several months in New York.
“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,” Sen. John Liu said. “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.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.