Posted on December 23, 2022

New York Residents Have Mixed Feelings About Yet Another Statewide Anti-Bias Program

Jonathan Franklin, NPR, December 20, 2022

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the creation of a Hate and Bias Prevention Unit to address the rising tide of antisemitic and other hate crimes New York has seen over the past year.

During a speech last week, Hochul said the new unit will be responsible for focusing on education, an early warning detection system in local communities and mobilizing a response in areas where a hate crime or bias-related incident took place.

The new program is a broader effort by Hochul’s office to address hate crimes and violence across New York in the wake of the deadly mass shooting in Buffalo earlier this year.


Housed under the state’s Division of Human Rights, the initiative is charged with organizing 10 regional councils across New York state made up of local stakeholders, according to officials.

The councils will aim to provide a place for community members to voice concerns, organize educational programming, conduct trainings in conflict resolution and facilitate the filing of complaints with the Division of Human Rights.

A rapid response team will also be created to assist communities in the state impacted by a bias or hate crime incident.

“New York State will use every tool at its disposal to eliminate hate and bias from our communities,” Hochul said. “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.”


News of New York state’s newly formed Hate Crime and Prevention Unit is just one of many initiatives the state has launched in recent months following the Buffalo Tops supermarket shooting.

In August, Gov. Hochul announced new guidance to support the development of domestic terrorism prevention plans, pledging $10 million to assist counties across the state in the development of threat assessment management teams.

Last month, Hochul signed two bills into law; one requires people convicted of hate crimes to undergo training on hate crime prevention and education, and another supports the launch of a statewide campaign to promote acceptance, inclusion and tolerance of the diversity of New Yorkers.

However, with the rollout of new legislation and new initiatives, some experts say they’re a bit skeptical about how exactly this will play out {snip}

“It’s great that the governor is working [to address this], but part of what’s happening is that very few details have been released and we’re a little bit in the dark on how this will actually shake,” Leo Ferguson, the director of strategic projects at Jews for Racial and Economic Justice told NPR.