The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye announced on January 27 that the authority is launching a new “Hate Has No Place in Our Transportation System” public awareness campaign aimed at combating hate crimes. The new campaign will appear on digital screens across subways, buses, and commuter railroads promoting kindness, respect and solidarity.
The campaign comes at a time that the frequency of hate crimes – often taking the form of vandalism that spreads messages of hate – has been increasing. The New York Police Department Transit Bureau investigated 75 hate crimes in 2019, an increase of 42% over the 53 investigated in 2018. The number of hate crimes investigated by the MTA Police Department held steady in 2019, declining 3% to 26 hate crimes investigated on the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and Staten Island Railway, from 27 the prior year.
The campaign was launched on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, and follows the abhorrent attack on a transgender woman on the C-line in Harlem over the weekend.
“New York is built on diversity, openness and inclusion,” said Foye. “Every New Yorker should be able to travel free of harassment and feel safe while riding with the MTA. We want to do what we can to put a halt to these despicable crimes. We hope that our campaign will not only help reduce bias activity but will remind everyone of the core New York values of kindness, respect and solidarity.”
“We are committed to battling all hate crimes of all natures, regardless of the group being targeted,” said MTA Police Acting Chief Joseph McGrann. “MTAPD detectives are assigned to investigate hate crimes as their focus, whether it is hateful graffiti or other bias-related crimes. Anyone found to be perpetrating these crimes will be prosecuted to the maximum extent of the law.”
“This campaign is about creating a more inclusive community that is reflective of the kindness and respect New Yorkers display for one another every day, and also standing in solidarity against hate and intolerance,” said Catherine Rinaldi, President of MTA Metro-North Railroad. “Our goal is to have zero hate crimes on our railroad, so if you are witness to a suspected bias incident or crime in progress, please contact law enforcement immediately. If you see graffiti or any other hateful behavior, let us know.”
“New York City Transit has zero tolerance for bias-motivated threats or harassment in our subway or bus systems,” said Sarah Meyer, New York City Transit Chief Customer Officer. “The increase in incidents we have witnessed is appalling. Let’s show our fellow New Yorkers how much we care and work together to combat these incidents.”
The ads will appear on more than more than 4,000 digital screens across the NYC Subway, 2,600 screens on buses, and 550 screens on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad.
All ads feature iconic signage associated with the NYC Transit system, LIRR and Metro-North and share the message that “hate has no place” in the MTA network. The ads provide information on how to report hate crimes, concluding with the tagline: “New York rides together.”