New York is launching a statewide Hate and Bias Prevention Unit to lead public education and outreach efforts and to serve as an “early warning detection system” in local communities.
The move was announced Monday at a symposium on combating antisemitism held by the Orthodox Union at Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York City, where federal, state and local officials talked about what might be done to stem the tide of rising hate.
The new unit is intended to quickly mobilize and offer support in areas and communities where a bias incident has occurred.
Antisemitic hate crimes rose in New York City alone last month by a whopping 125 percent compared to the same period in 2021, according to data released earlier this month by the NYPD. There were 45 antisemitic attacks reported to police in November, compared to 20 such attacks one year earlier, according to the data.
“New York State will use every tool at its disposal to eliminate hate and bias from our communities,” Governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement. “We will not let the rise in hate incidents that we see happening online, across the country and across the world, take root here at home.”
As part of the unit’s mandate, the state Division of Human Rights is organizing 10 regional councils across the state made up of local stakeholders to provide a place for community members to share concerns, organize educational programming, host hate crime prevention and community healing events, conduct trainings in conflict resolution, and facilitate the filing of complaints with the Division and other relevant agencies.
The unit also will develop a rapid response team to assist communities affected by a bias or hate incident, and will be responsible for establishing and implementing a statewide campaign promoting acceptance, inclusion, tolerance, and understanding of diversity, as required by legislation signed last month by the governor.
The division also works with the New York State Police to educate New Yorkers on the State’s hate crimes laws.
New York recently received $96 million in state and federal funding to safeguard nonprofit, community-based organizations at risk of hate crimes and attacks.
The state’s Division of Human Rights annually investigates more than 5,000 complaints of discrimination; last year more than $6.2 million in monetary damages was secure for people who have experienced discrimination.