SEATTLE - There's a new hotline to call, in Seattle if you think you're being harassed because of your race, religion, sex, gender identity, or any other reason that would violate the city's anti-discrimination laws.
The hotline is 206-233-7100.
"We've set up the hotline so people in Seattle can contact the Office for Civil Rights immediately," said Office of Civil Rights Director Patricia Lally.
Her office can help people who experience, for example, discrimination in housing, employment, or in public places. Harassment can include everything from intimidation to slurs and even cyber-bullying.
People who believe they are victims of a hate crime, such as physical violence or threats of property damage, should still call 911 to contact police, .
The anti-bias hotline is part of a broader campaign that includes meetings with community groups across Seattle, so city leaders can hear what people are experiencing and come up with ways to curb discrimination.
Arsalan Bukhari, Executive Director of CAIR-WA, appreciates that the launch of the hotline includes a public awareness campaign which could reach hundreds of local American Muslims, "to inform them of their rights and motivate them to report discrimination so that they can get the help they need to ensure they are able to pursue their dreams."
Rich Stolz, Executive Director of OneAmerica, also thinks the anti-bias hotline will be helpful, but wishes there was a similar program, state-wide. He adds, "It's striking that we don't have more accurate information on hate crimes in Washington State already, or a place where people can go for help if they're living, for example, in Yakima or Grant County or anywhere else outside of Seattle."