Gov. Walz, Lt. Gov. Flanagan launch discrimination hotline amid rising reports

Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan announced Monday a discrimination hotline will be launched amid rising reports of discrimination from the Asian American community to reinforce the state’s efforts to protect the civil rights of Minnesotans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Governor’s Office says the toll-free hotline, which is 1-833-454-0148, will allow those who experience or witness bias and discrimination to report incidents to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. The helpline is staffed Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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"Minnesotans are resilient people who support their neighbors when the going gets tough," Walz said in a release. "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."

Flanagan weighed in on the issue as well, noting the acts are "unacceptable."

"There’s a distinct pattern in our nation’s history of increased discrimination during uncertain and trying times, of needing someone to blame," she said. "This is unacceptable and, as Minnesotans, we must work to break this cycle."

The Minnesota Human Rights Act protects the civil rights of all Minnesotans to ensure everyone can live free from discrimination.

"Minnesota has one of the strongest civil rights laws in the country," said Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero. "Having this helpline will allow our department to continue its work to investigate all incidents of discrimination under the Minnesota Human Rights Act while also giving us the information needed to conduct outreach and education and change policies to create a more welcoming and inclusive Minnesota."

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Minnesotans who experience or witness bias and discrimination because of their race, ethnicity, disability or other protected status in their job, housing or in a public place, should call the toll-free hotline or submit an online form.

If you have been the victim of a crime, including a hate crime, or fear for your safety, call 911 immediately.