Increasing reports of discrimination against Asian Americans in Minnesota has prompted Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan to launch a Discrimination Helpline to report racist behavior.
Asian Americans have been targets of xenophobes who blame the coronavirus outbreak on people of Asian descent because the virus is believed to have started at a wet market in Wuhan, China, which was the epicenter of the outbreak as it originated and has since spread across the globe.
The helpline in Minnesota – 1-833-454-0148 – will allow anyone who experiences discrimination, or anyone who witnesses an incident of hate, the opportunity to immediately report it to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. The hotline is available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Incidents can also be reported online through this form.
“Minnesotans are resilient people who support their neighbors when the going gets tough,” Gov. Walz said in a statement. “As Asian Americans in Minnesota report heightened cases of discrimination amid COVID-19, my message is clear: Viruses don’t discriminate, and neither do we.”
Lt. Gov. Flanagan, whose brother in Tennessee died of COVID-19, said: “There’s a distinct pattern in our nation’s history of increased discrimination during uncertain and trying times, of needing someone to blame. This is unacceptable and, as Minnesotans, we must work to break this cycle."
All incidents reported to the Department of Human Rights will be thoroughly investigated while also helping to provide information necessary to educate and create a "more welcoming and inclusive Minnesota," said Rebecca Lucero, commissioner of the human rights department.
Any discrimination or bias related to race, ethnicity or disability should be reported to via the Discrimination Helpline. Anyone who fears for their safety or is the victim of a hate crime should immediately call 911.