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Creating a Pro Bono Pipeline to Combat Discriminatory Harassment

by Christin Damiano August 7, 2017

The City Bar Justice Center’s Anti-Harassment Project held a Continuing Legal Education program on June 27, 2017 entitled Assisting Victims of Discriminatory Harassment. The program trained 55 attorneys on how to use New York City’s discriminatory harassment law. Discriminatory harassment is an act or acts using threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion or violence that: (1) interferes with the victim’s civil or constitutional rights; and (2) is motivated in part by the victim’s actual or perceived race, creed, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, alienage, citizenship status, or other protected status.

The CLE covered how to bring discriminatory harassment cases in court or through administrative proceedings at the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Attendees also learned about T and U visas, which are available to immigrant victims of certain crimes including discriminatory harassment.

Presenters included Afaf Nasher, the Executive Director of CAIR-NY, Michael Silverman, Supervising Attorney at the New York City Commission on Human Rights, Suzanne Tomatore, Co-Director of the Immigrant Justice Project at the City Bar Justice Center, and Antony Gemmell, Staff Attorney at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. The event was moderated by Christin Damiano, Coordinating Attorney for the Anti-Harassment Project.

Assisting Victims of Discriminatory Harassment
Afaf Nasher and Christin Damiano

Since its inception in March 2017, the Anti-Harassment Project has fielded dozens of questions from New Yorkers affected by discriminatory harassment including:

  • A woman who was physically restrained from using a public restroom that corresponded to her gender identity, because she did not present as such;
  • A U.S. citizen who was attacked by a stranger with an umbrella and told to “go back to [her country]”;
  • A tenant who was harassed by her landlord for marrying a person of a different race/national origin;
  • A woman who was shopping and was harassed and threatened in a retail store because of her race; and
  • A gender fluid person who identifies as female, but was placed in a male homeless shelter.

For further information, please contact Christin Damiano.

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