This Tuesday, August 29, members of the Bill de Blasio Administration held a Day of Action in Sunnyside to promote tenant rights amid reports of displays of Nazi and Confederate imagery, and other symbols of hatred in buildings followed by threatening behavior directed at residents, many of whom are immigrants. Following reports of a hostile environment at 47-55 39th Place by Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer and building residents, the City’s Commission on Human Rights immediately visited the building and will be making an announcement about their plan to protect tenants from further harassment at the press conference.
“It is now more important than ever for New Yorkers to stand united as one city and reject discrimination and intolerance,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We will not let tenants in Sunnyside or across the five boroughs be intimidated or threatened for speaking out against hatred.”
“Discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated in New York City and the NYC Commission on Human Rights is cracking down on anyone who thinks they are above the Law,” said Deputy Commissioner of the Law Enforcement Bureau at the NYC Commission on Human Rights Hollis V. Pfitsch. “Despite hostile rhetoric on the national level, no one in New York City has permission to harass or threaten another person because of who they are, what they believe, or what they look like. The Commission will continue to use every tool it has to investigate and prosecute violators and encourages anyone who witnesses or is a victim of discrimination or harassment to step forward and report it to the Commission.”
Under NYC Human Rights Law, it is illegal to discriminate against tenants because of their race, color, religion immigration status, sexual orientation, or any other protected class. In 2016, the NYC Commission on Human Rights saw an increase in overall reports of discrimination by 60 percent, a trend that continues into 2017. Reports of discrimination based on race, religion, national origin and immigration status increased by 30 percent in 2016. The Commission has the authority to fine violators with civil penalties of up to $250,000 for willful and malicious violations of the Law. New Yorkers can call 311 or visit nyc.gov/humanrights for more information or to file a complaint.
The City’s Human Resource Administration and Commission on Human Rights will be on hand to talk to New Yorkers about legal services available to tenants facing harassment, retaliation, discrimination and/or eviction. NYC Housing and Preservation Development will affirm it does not ask any tenant about their protected status when responding to 311 calls about Housing Maintenance Code violations.
Staff from these two agencies and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, and the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit fanned across Sunnyside train stations with information for New Yorkers.