Skip to main content

Civil Rights and COVID-19

The Civil Rights Division, along with U.S. Attorney partners across the country, leads the Department of Justice’s effort to investigate and address civil rights issues related to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has stressed our Nation’s commitment to an open, equal, and inclusive society. We have seen hateful and xenophobic rhetoric and violence aimed at Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities and businesses. We have also seen Black, Indigenous, Latino, and Pacific Islander communities, as well as people with disabilities, suffer disproportionately high rates of death and greater risk of infection and hospitalization. COVID-19 has magnified social, economic, and environmental inequalities that we cannot ignore. As a Nation, we cannot adequately respond to, and recover from, COVID-19 if we do not protect all of our neighbors. That requires us to pursue justice on behalf of those targeted because of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), disability, or citizenship. The Department of Justice will vigorously enforce Federal civil rights as we continue the process of national reckoning, recovery, and healing. Civil rights protections and responsibilities still apply, even during emergencies. They cannot be waived. Federal agencies, state and local governments, and recipients of Federal financial assistance are an integral part of our shared effort to uphold civil rights.  Read more from the Statement by the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Pamela S. Karlan on leading a coordinated civil rights response to COVID-19.

For the Statement in other languages:

If you witnessed or experienced a hate crime or incident:

If you witnessed or experienced another kind of civil rights issue: Use our online form to Report a Civil Rights Violation 

How to reach the Civil Rights Division by phone:
The Civil Rights Division enforces civil rights laws in a wide variety of contexts. If you are not sure which Section is the appropriate one to receive your complaint, you may contact the Civil Rights Division at toll-free 855-856-1247 or (202) 514-3847.  

Following are resources to assist in addressing civil rights challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic

The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s work during COVID-19 has included the following court filings and public announcements

Updated May 12, 2021