skip to content
Primary navigation

Civil Rights Updates

I love civil rights!_bg

Discrimination Helpline Update

5/5/2020 8:38:05 AM


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. 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. 

Share Information About the Helpline

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

This information was published in our newsletter on April 5, 2020. 

back to top