Discrimination helpline update, COVID-19 resources, and more

Minnesota Department of Human Rights logo

Community Resiliency and Recovery Work Group

In order to center racial equity and community resiliency in Minnesota's COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, Governor Walz launched the Community Resiliency and Recovery Work Group on April 17. Commissioner Lucero is co-chairing this work group with Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. 

The work group’s scope is to develop and implement near and long-term strategies and guidance within the State to best support recovery and resiliency with intentional focus on Black, Latinx, and Asian community members, people of color, Tribal Nations that share their geography within Minnesota, Indigenous communities, and immigrants including undocumented communities, mixed status families, and refugees.

While the focus of this work group is specifically race and national origin, the work is intended to bring greater justice and healing to all complex intersectional identities. We are all deeply interconnected and these issues are intersectional.

We will be using our newsletter to share updates, information, and resources with you. You can learn more here about the work group here

Discrimination Helpline English Horizontal

Minnesota Department of Human Rights, Discrimination Helpline 1-833-454-0148

Discrimination Helpline Update

Thank you to everyone who shared information about the Discrimination Helpline

Over the last several weeks, we've heard from Minnesotans throughout the state and what's clear is that COVID-19 is exposing what has always been true: racism and xenophobia are pervasive and persistent. It is unacceptable to relate this pandemic to any group of people and treat those individuals differently.

As the state's civil rights enforcement agency, we remain committed to investigating incidents of illegal discrimination and collecting stories to inform our outreach, education, and policy change.

While we are still in the early stages of the discrimination helpline, below are some initial themes and stories we have received. 

Minnesotans are Experiencing Bias at Grocery Stores and in Parking Lots

Incidents are occurring in grocery stores or in the parking lots of grocery stores. We are also hearing about Minnesotans who are positively intervening when they see others being treated unfairly. This story demonstrates both:

  • My father was confronted in front of a grocery store in Maplewood by another customer who told my father to return to China. When my father explained that he wasn't Chinese, the man grabbed my father's jacket collar. Luckily a security guard intervened and told the other man to stop harassing my father. 

Children Experience Discrimination and Bias

Before distance learning, students experienced bias at school:

  • My children's friend was bullied at school because the other student thought they were Chinese. 

Minnesotans Calling on Behalf of Their Parents 

When we receive reports of bias incidents, it's often on behalf of parents:

  • My mother was in a parking lot when a woman approached my mom, called her a "Chinawoman" and gave her the finger.
  • My parents were at a bank in Brooklyn Park today. A person in the drive thru line cut them off. The person called my dad "Chinese" and said, "You're the reason the virus is here." They then spit towards my dad.

These stories represent the pain and backlash that communities, particularly the Asian American community, are facing during COVID-19. They also represent hope and the opportunity to work towards building a state where people can live with dignity and joy. 

Continue to share information about the helpline!

You can find graphics, social media content, and information in 17 different languages on our website.

Calendar graphic with the words "Important Updates to Case Deadlines during COVID-19."

Important Updates to Case Deadlines during COVID-19

Protecting Civil Rights During the Peacetime Emergency

On April 22, Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-39 that ensures Minnesotans' civil rights are protected during the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency.

Minnesotans whose deadline to file a charge with the Department that would have expired during the peacetime emergency now have until 60 calendar days after it ends to do so.

The executive order also:

  • Extends deadlines for respondents to submit answers to charges of discrimination;
  • Extends deadlines to appeal Department determinations; and
  • Ensures all parties are able to better engage with the Department despite the disruption caused by the pandemic. 

Read more about the executive order here.

Partnership with Minnesota Department of Transportation

Last month, we announced we're deepening our partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to ensure the state is enforcing state and federal anti-discrimination and Equal Employment Opportunity laws.

Our two agencies signed an inter-agency agreement earlier this month that enables greater collaboration on contractor compliance for state-funded highway heavy construction projects, leveraging both agencies’ expertise in order to intentionally dismantle disparities and inequities.

Learn more about this partnership here.

Construction Work Scene

Construction workers working onsite.

COVID-19 Resources

Last week, Governor Walz extended the Stay Home order until May 18, prioritizing the safety of Minnesotans while taking strategic steps toward getting folks back to work. We can all do our part to slow the spread by staying home, practicing social safe distancing, and wearing cloth masks. 

Below are some COVID-19 resources and information available. You can find more on the COVID-19 website. 

One Minnesota

Together as One Minnesota, we can save lives. #StayHomeMN

Stay up to date about civil rights in Minnesota. Subscribe to our updates today!

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.