New York, NY, November 21, 2016 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed three-part action plan in an effort to address and combat the recent wave of bias-motivated incidents, including harassment and violence throughout the state.
Speaking at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem on November 21, Governor Cuomo announced the creation of a new hate crimes unit at New York State Police, the expansion of the state’s human rights law, and the establishment of a new emergency legal defense fund which will provide critical legal assistance to immigrants. The governor also issued an open letter on November 20 to all students reminding them of their protections against discrimination, harassment, and hate crimes.
“We thank and commend Governor Cuomo for his strong and comprehensive response to the wave of hate incidents afflicting New York and other states since the Presidential election,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “All state leaders should follow his leadership and make clear that this current troubling trend of hate we are seeing will not be tolerated and does not define our communities.”
“We applaud the governor’s plan to create a new Hate Crimes Unit at the State Police to investigate and provide assistance to other law enforcement agencies investigating potential hate crimes,” said Evan R. Bernstein, ADL New York Regional Director. “Hate crimes can damage the fabric of our society and fragment communities, demanding special and significant attention. A separate unit at the State Police dedicated to combatting these crimes demonstrates a serious commitment to deterring and preventing deeply-impactful criminal behavior.”
Governor Cuomo also proposed legislation that would expand New York’s Human Rights law to public school students. Currently, only private school students are protected from discrimination in schools. ADL said that New York’s Human Rights Law - as the backbone that provides critical civil rights protections to the state’s children - should provide discrimination and harassment protections equally to all educational settings, making no distinction between public and private schools.
Last year, ADL announced 50 States Against Hate, an initiative to expand and strengthen hate crimes laws in New York State and around the country.