Minnesota launches helpline to report incidents of bias, discrimination as result of COVID-19 pandemic

Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan launched a helpline Monday for people to report incidents of bias or discrimination resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. 

The governor says Minnesotans with Asian or Pacific Islander heritage have been reporting a higher rate of discrimination and hate speech against them because the novel coronavirus originated in China. 

“It’s unfortunate this is happening, but it still continues to happen,” Walz said at his daily briefing Monday. “We’re still getting way too many calls of xenophobia and racism, especially aimed at the Asian American community, because of COVID-19.” 

The state government is now encouraging 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 to call the new, toll-free Discrimination Helpline at 1-833-454-0148. 

“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," the governor said in a statement. 

The helpline is staffed Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Translation and interpretation services are available.