Community Highlights

The Commission’s Community Relations Bureau (“CRB”) promotes understanding and respect among New Yorkers. Its five borough-based Community Service Centers provide resources to help New Yorkers understand their rights and obligations under the City Human Rights Law.

The following are highlights of CRB’s accomplishments in 2018.  Keep checking this page for monthly updates, and be sure to follow us on social media for daily happenings.

July 2018

Commission Partners with the Arab American Association of New York on Bias Intervention Training following Recent MTA Bus Bias Incident Against Muslim Woman

The Commission, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Office of Council Member Justin Brannan and advocates partnered with the Arab American Association of NY to host a bystander intervention training following a recent bias incident that occurred on the S53 bus from Bay Ridge to Staten Island in which a woman verbally harassed a fellow passenger wearing a hijab with anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant remarks, including threats involving immigration authorities (ICE). The goal of the workshop was to educate New Yorkers on how to successfully and safely disrupt a hostile or aggressive situation they may witness, and to ensure actions are more helpful than harmful. Additionally, participating organizations and City agencies were at the site offering information on resources and assistance and a Commission attorney was also available to explain and answer questions specifics to the Commission’s law enforcement process.
The workshop followed a successful Day of Visibility in which the Commission and partners in government and the community educated New Yorkers about their protections from discrimination and harassment, encouraged reporting, and informed people how to file complaints with the Commission.

Commission #OnStatenIsland

Commission joined and led events and meetings as part of City Hall In Your Borough week on Staten Island.
• The Commission and the Mayor's Office of Immigrants Affairs conducted a joint workshop for English Language Learners of the YMCA’s New American Welcome Center on rights and services for immigrant New Yorkers. Additionally, Commission held mobile complaint intake clinic at the YMCA New American Welcome Center.
• Commissioner Malalis joined the Borough Fair along with dozens of Commissioners from other agencies and Commission staff conducted a presentation at the Blue Cross Blue Shield Center.
• Commissioner Malalis visited the Alice Austen House on behalf of First Lady Chirlane McCray followed by a meeting with members of community-based organization La Colmena, including day laborers, domestic workers, and other low-wage immigrant workers, to discuss issues facing Staten Island immigrants communities and offer City assistance and services. Additionally, the Commissioner met with leadership and members of the Staten Island Pride Center.
• Commission staff conducted a workshop on the Fair Chance Act for clients of the NYC Department of Probation.
• Commission staff participated at a resource fair targeting African communities organized by Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and Community Affairs Unit.

June 2018

Commission Launches LGBTQ Rights Social Media and Poster Campaign and Marches Alongside Millions at the 2018 Pride march

The Commission was visible, proud and unstoppable at the 2018 Pride March throughout Manhattan. Commission staff, friends, family and neighbors joined together to distribute flyers and hold signs reaffirming that LGBTQ rights are protected and enforced in New York City. Earlier in June, the Commission launched an advertising campaign across social media and LGBTQ media highlighting LGBTQ protections under the City Human Rights Law. The campaign, which also included branded posters and flyers, ran until the end of June.
Online advertisements supported a new landing page on the Commission's website with information on how to report discrimination, helpful resources and scenarios on how to identify discrimination, the downloadable new advertisements, and a calendar of events where New Yorkers could find our staff and access our resources throughout Pride month. For more information, please visit the campaign landing page.

To relive the Pride March, check out a Facebook album from the event here.

Commission Hosts First LGBTQ Youth Fair, Commissioner Malalis Honored in the Rockaways

On June 19, the Commission hosted its first LGBTQ Youth and Family Empowerment Resource Fair. A contribution to the City's Unity Project, the LGBTQ Youth and Family Empowerment Resource Fair provided an opportunity for LGBTQ youth and parents to connect with vital community-based organizations and City agencies that provide health, legal, and educational services.
Also, on June 28, Commissioner Malalis was honored by Out Rockaway for her work advocating for LGBTQ rights at the 1st annual Rockaway Pride Reception.

May 2018

Commission's Bias Response Team and Social Media Platforms Affirm Rights Under the Law

After a video depicting a New York City-based lawyer berating employees at a Fresh Kitchen location in Midtown Manhattan for speaking Spanish began to go viral across social media, the Commission sent its Bias Response Team to the business where the incident happened to ensure that affected parties know their rights under the NYC Human Rights Law and know how to file a complaint at the Commission if they feel they have been the victims of discrimination.

The Commission utilized its digital platforms to affirm the right of all New Yorkers to live free from discrimination and to speak the language they prefer. The Commission also repurposed its #YouHaveRightsNYC campaign and video advertisements that specifically reference a New Yorker’s right to speak Spanish to their children without a business demanding that they “Speak English. This is America.”

Commission, Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, and Mayor's Community Affairs Unit Host 3rd Annual Iftar in the City in Jackson Heights, Queens

The Commission partnered with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) and Community Affairs Unit (CAU), and the NYPD Muslim Officers Society to host the third annual Iftar in the City. Hundreds of New Yorkers from all faiths and walks of life gathered to break bread together and celebrate the rich diversity of our Muslim communities and religious communities as a whole. The event, which took place in Jackson Heights, has grown considerably in size, serving meals to over 650 people this year.

Commissioner Malalis provided remarks to the crowd, focusing on how events like Iftar in the City show the true and welcoming nature of New Yorkers. Other speakers at the event included Council Member Daniel Dromm, NYC Deputy Mayor J. Phillip Thompson, Founder of Women In Islam, Inc. Aisha al-Adawiya, Zaid Nagi of the Yemeni American Merchants Association, Commissioner Bitta Mostofi of MOIA, among others. You can see updates and images from the event by checking out #IftarInTheCity2018 and #IftarInTheCity on Twitter and Instagram.

View the photo album from Iftar in the City.

2nd Annual African Communities Forum in the Bronx Provides Resources to Some of NYC's Fastest-Growing Immigrant Communities

The Commission partnered with MOIA, CAU, a number of community-based organizations and elected officials to host the agency’s 2nd Annual African Communities Forum and Resource Fair. This year’s event, hosted at Monroe College in the Bronx, was centered around mobilizing community through government engagement and allowed for attendees to interact with, and learn from, City government staff with African backgrounds.
As part of the Commission’s efforts to show how the agency strives to reflect the diversity of the City, the Commission also released a new video of staff members from various departments who are of African descent in a show of solidarity and support with these communities.

April 2018

Commission Commemorates Faith, Fair Housing, Immigrant Justice and Sexual Assault Awareness

The Commission celebrated New York City’s Jewish and Sikh communities by hosting its 2nd Annual Interfaith Seder at the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights, and partnering with the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and the Office of the Manhattan Borough President to celebrate the Vaisakhi holiday at the David Dinkins Municipal Building. Both events brought hundreds of New Yorkers together to celebrate immigrant justice and appreciation for New York City’s rich cultural and religious diversity. View photos of the Seder and the Vaisakhi celebrations on Facebook. 

The Commission partnered with the Metropolitan College of the City of New York to offer a workshop on the protections that the New York City Human Rights Law offers tenants using lawful sources of income to secure apartments and pay rent to the staffers of local elected officials throughout the Bronx, along with a resource fair focused on housing rights for the South Bronx community at the College on the same day. The Commission also brought its commemoration of Fair Housing Month to Staten Island, where it partnered with several community-based organizations and the Richmond County Domestic Violence Task Force to host a Fair Housing Forum and Resource Fair. Commissioner Malalis offered remarks at the Forum. 

The Commission partnered with the Mayor’s Office to host a Citywide Day of Action for Immigrant Justice, conducting literature drops at major transit hubs and hosting mobile outreach and intake centers in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and on Staten Island. In total, the Commission was able to reach over one thousand New Yorkers, providing them with access and resources related to the protections offered to immigrants under the Human Rights Law.

The Commission also took a stand against sexual harassment and assault in April, partnering with the First Lady of New York City to co-host “#NoMoreSilenceNYC” to highlight the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, as well as the Commission’s report, “Combating Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Recommendations and Trends Based on 2017 Public Hearing Testimony”. Commission staff also participated in annual Denim Day commemorations in Manhattan and the Bronx, in order to provide local communities with information and resources regarding protections against gender-based discrimination under the Human Rights Law.

March 2018

Commission's Commitment to Women's Rights Reaffirmed during Women's History Month Events Around Town

The Commission hosted “Empowering Women in Non-Traditional Employment,” a symposium and resource fair at the DC 37 (Local 154) office. The event, which included a training on sexual harassment, presented the opportunity for the Commission to reach women who may be more vulnerable to discriminatory or harassing actions by their employers because of the nature of their work. In addition to the workshops, remarks were provided by Commissioner Carmelyn P. Malalis and Public Advocate Letitia James. You can view a photo album from the event on Facebook.

The Commission also partnered with the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) of Brooklyn for the launch of the Commission’s first ever “Empowering Young Women” curriculum. The curriculum, developed by the Commission, serves as an educational and training syllabus to be administered over a number of weeks in order to ensure that girls know their rights under the City Human Rights Law, how to take action if they are discriminated against, and how they can engage their peers, politicians, schools, and representatives to advocate for the causes and initiatives they care about most. View a photo album from the YWCA event.

Commissioner Malalis was also featured as a panelist at a number of events across the five boroughs this month. She gave opening remarks at the Sexual Justice NOW! panel discussion at John Jay College, where she spoke on how the Commission has been responding to an important moment in women's rights way before the first sexual harassment scandals broke in the news. Watch her remarks on Facebook.

Also, at a #MeToo townhall hosted by BRIC-TV, Commissioner Malalis informed attendees and those watching live on Facebook about how the Commission protects individuals against sexual harassment and what is the role of government and policy makers at this historic moment in women’s rights. She also encouraged those who are victims or witnesses of harassment to report it to the Commission. Watch a two-minute recap of the Commissioner’s participation on the panel.

February 2018

Commission Hosts Two Panel Discussions as part of Black History Month Outreach

On February 15, the Commission brought together academic and community leaders to host a lively and engaging discussion about human rights in African communities at Jerome Green Hall at Columbia Law School. The discussion ranged in topics from NYC and international human rights law to immigration, fair housing, and the gentrification of traditionally African American neighborhoods.

Also in February, the Commission hosted a panel discussion in Harlem on the topics of race, displacement, and economic justice. The event was attended by community leaders from across New York City and highlighted the needs of communities that are rapidly changing due to gentrification. View a photo album from the event on Facebook.

January 2018

Commission Conducts Day of Action Following Alleged Religious Discrimination in Brooklyn

After a Muslim woman in Brooklyn reported that a number of teenagers harassed her and shouted Islamophobic comments towards her, the Commission's Community Relations Bureau and volunteers conducted a "Day of Action" at the Brooklyn Borough Hall MTA Station to educate community members about legal protections against discriminatory harassment and religious discrimination under the City Human Rights Law and how to report incidents.

The Commission also used its digital channels to draw attention to the activity itself and supportive materials like the #IAmMuslimNYC Fact Sheet.