Bias Response Team

Commission staffer talking with community member in front of Fresh Kitchen restaurant.
Commission staff and community advocates sitting around a table.
Commission staffer talking with New Yorker on the street, pointing at Commission literature.
Commission’s Bias Response Team providing literature and educating community members following bias incidents throughout NYC including Fresh Kitchen restaurant in Manhattan, May 2018; and Jackson Heights, Queens, April 2019.

Due to the rise of bias incidents and discriminatory harassment seen throughout the country and here in New York City, the Commission relaunched its Bias Response Team in late 2016.

The Bias Response Team works to support and stabilize communities after incidents of bias have occurred. The Team responds to need identified by the harmed communities. Examples of the Commission’s responses include:

  • Distributing literature to local businesses and community centers outlining protections under the City Human Rights Law;
  • Partnering with local schools and youth-focused community centers and programs to provide young people with educational programming on empowering members of marginalized groups and standing up to bias;
  • Canvassing neighborhoods with local community leaders, elected officials, and community-based organizations;
  • Working with sister City agencies on days of action or days of visibility, which are coordinated Citywide outreach efforts to raise awareness on specific issues; and
  • Educating impacted community members on their rights and opportunity to file a complaint with the Commission. 

Where appropriate, our Bias Response Team refers incidents to our Law Enforcement Bureau for investigation.

The Commission’s Bias Response Team responded to 235 bias incidents overall in Fiscal Year 2019, nearly one hundred more than Fiscal Year 2018, including the incidents below:

  • In the fall of 2018, following a series of anti-Semitic incidents in Brooklyn, the Commission’s Bias Response Team launched a multi-pronged approach to engage with the community. The team led a day of visibility in a Hasidic neighborhood on Kingston Avenue in Crown Heights and another in Prospect Heights. The events were organized in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and Repair the World NYC. Commission staff also handed out over 2,500 flyers at transit locations educating community members about their protections under the New York City Human Rights Law and inviting them to participate in a bystander intervention training the Commission was hosting in Crown Heights.
  • In the Bronx, after a Black Muslim woman was harassed by young people on a bus, the Commission mobilized a day of visibility to bring awareness to this incident and educate New Yorkers about their rights under the New York City Human Rights Law. The Commission coordinated the day of visibility with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Action Network, the Bronx Borough President’s African Advisory Council, the African Immigrants’ Commission of New York and Connecticut, the Young African Network, and the Guinean Community of America.
  • In response to anti-Chinese graffiti in Bensonhurst, the Commission’s Bias Response Team organized a day of visibility in partnership with other City agencies and community partners to create awareness about discrimination and share information on how to report to incidents to the Commission. The Commission was joined by the Mayor’s Immigrant Affairs, Community Affairs Unit, and Public Engagement Unit as well as local community based-organizations, Chinese American Social Services Center, and United Chinese Association of Brooklyn. The agencies and organizations collectively distributed more than 1,000 multilingual flyers on protections from discrimination under the New York City Human Rights Law as well as information on how to report incidents in three different locations in Bensonhurst. The Commission’s multilingual staff engaged with the community members and many business owners agreed to display the flyers in their store windows. 

To speak to a member of the Bias Response Team, call (212) 416-0197.