Recently, our country and our city have witnessed hate crimes, intimidation, and damage to public and private property. I’ve heard from many Philadelphians saying that they’re fearful.
Alongside these troubling incidents, though, there have been visions of hope. So many Philadelphians are asking how they can stand up for their fellow residents, their colleagues, their friends, and their neighbors.
Below, you can find questions and answers guided by local and state statutes, including contact information to community-based resources and organizations that support victims of crime, foster inclusion, and serve all of Philadelphia’s 1.5 million residents.
Frequently Asked Questions on How to Protect Philadelphia’s Diversity
If you see a hate crime being committed what should you do?
A hate crime is a criminal act that is motivated by prejudice or bias. Hate crimes are based upon race, color, religion, gender, ethnic identification, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation or gender identity. Hate crimes are devastating for victims and the larger community. They strike at the core of who we are as humans beings—our origins, values and beliefs.
If you see a hate crime being committed against anyone, you should call 911 for the police immediately. You should also report it to the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR) at 215-686-4670 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The PCHR also has an anonymous hotline at 215-686-2856.
If you are the victim of a hate crime what should you do?
If you are a victim of a hate crime, you should call 911 or contact your local police district and make a report. You should also report it to the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR) at 215-686-4670 or email@example.com.
What is the role of the city when it comes to hate crimes?
The Police Department and District Attorney’s Office are responsible for investigating and prosecuting hate crimes. The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR) investigates and responds to acts of bias and hate on a community level. The PCHR gathers information from all affected parties and enacts a response that is tailored to the particular situation. Whether it is conducting facilitated community meetings, mediating disputes amongst neighbors or partnering with law enforcement, victim services, faith and community leaders, the PCHR brings people together to help heal the community and reduce tensions. When a hate crime or discrimination happens at work, in housing or a place of public accommodation, the PCHR will investigate and enforce the city’s strong anti-discrimination law.
If I believe I’m facing or see another coworker facing implicit or explicit racism, sexism or bigotry in the workplace, what should I do?
If you see a bias act occur, say something. Be an “upstander” – not a bystander – and call it out or report it to a supervisor. If you or a co-worker are the target of prejudice or discrimination at work, contact the PCHR for help at 215-686-4670 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What can I do to help protect our city’s most vulnerable?
Mayor Kenney has asked Philadelphians to step up and become educators, foster parents, rec center volunteers, homeless outreach workers, participants in our Police Service Areas, and all those jobs and volunteer roles that make Philadelphia its best self. There are so many productive ways that you can channel your feelings into productive actions that help build bridges and strengthen our communities. Please check out serve.phila.gov if you are looking for ways to get involved locally.
You can also sign up for one of the City’s free mental health first aid class to learn how to deescalate conflicts and communicate with a person in crisis.
If I’m an immigrant afraid of deportation, what should I do?
Philadelphia has many non-profit organizations ready and willing to help. These organizations can help you with your immigration paperwork as well as inform you about your rights.
Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians
The Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians serves immigrants and refugees in the Philadelphia area.
Services include: job placement and employment assistance; social service information and referral; free monthly legal clinics; and, advice and resources for small business owners.
1617 JFK Boulevard, Suite 555
Philadelphia, PA 19103
HIAS Pennsylvania provides legal, resettlement, citizenship, and supportive services to immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers from all backgrounds in order to ensure their fair treatment and full integration into American society. Services include refugee resettlement, support for those recently granted asylum, as well as legal services for those who seek asylum, family unification, permanent legal status, and citizenship.
2100 Arch Street, 3rd Floor
Philadelphia, Pa. 19103
Nationalities Service Center
The Nationalities Service Center provides legal, social, and educational services to immigrants, refugees, and other non-English-speaking people. Services include refugee resettlement, economic self-sufficiency programs, English classes, legal assistance, interpretation, employment preparation, and programs for the elderly.
1216 Arch St., 4th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PICC)
PICC represents the needs of immigrants, migrants, refugees and other new Americans to policymakers, public officials, and the general public. Advocacy areas include increasing access to public services, improving law-enforcement relations, ensuring worker rights, and expanding access to driver’s licenses, Social Security numbers and other documentation. PICC also registers new voters.
2100 Arch Street, 5th floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Community Legal Services of Philadelphia
Community Legal Services’ mission is to help low-income Philadelphia residents obtain equal access to justice by providing them with advice and representation in civil legal matters; advocating for their legal rights; and conducting community education about the legal issues that affect them.
Two offices: 1424 Chestnut Street, Phila., PA 19102 & 1410 West Erie Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19140