California’s strength is in its diversity. Discrimination and hate have no place in our society, let alone in our response to COVID-19. Here are the different forms discrimination can take, and what you can do about them.

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Associating COVID-19 with any group of people or ethnicity is wrong and dangerous. Violence, bullying and harassment must be reported and stopped for the good of all. 

During this public health emergency, it’s particularly important to stop discrimination. Unchecked, it can lead to denial of healthcare, violation of civil rights, and violence. This can cause further spread of the virus and deaths, with grave impact to the community. Share accurate information – don’t promote stigma or hate. This will help us come together as a community to fight COVID-19.

California law protects every person in the state from discrimination. You may not be discriminated against because of race, national origin, ancestry, or immigration status. Discrimination may not happen in:

Businesses are also prohibited from discriminating because of citizenship or language spoken. This includes housing providers.

California law also protects every person from violence related to discrimination.

If you have faced any of these forms of discrimination or violence, file a complaint.


Fear and anxiety about coronavirus are real. But they are no excuse for stigmatizing whole groups of people. While the spread of COVID-19 began abroad, the disease is not linked to any race or nationality.

Stigmatizing people because of where they appear to be from is wrong and does not make you safe. Anyone can have coronavirus. Stigmatized groups suffer mentally and physically when we let fear, hatred, stigma, and bad data inform our actions. We must call out harmful language and remove it from our own speech.

Keep our communities resilient during tough times. Eliminate stigma in your words and actions.

No one is to blame for the COVID-19 outbreak, and we must all work together to end the pandemic. This is a good time for a few reminders about how to be a good neighbor:

  • Speak up when you see others treated poorly.
  • Know that many of us will get COVID-19, regardless of our race, ethnicity, gender, age, or sexual orientation. 
  • Be kind to others and treat everyone with respect. 
  • Read Governor Newsom’s Twitter statements against xenophobia targeting the Asian-American community.


Sending or posting hurtful content is a form of bullying. It can happen even when a student is learning at home. Such behavior is damaging, and should not be tolerated.

If you think your child is being cyberbullied, there is help. See the Department of Education’s bullying prevention resources.

Hate crimes

A hate crime is a crime motivated by the victim’s perceived social group. It is different from hate speech, which is protected by the First Amendment. But when hate speech leads to a hate crime, the law protects the victim.

If you suspect you are the victim of a hate crime, contact your local police right away. Save all evidence, and write down everything you can remember. See guidance on hate crimes and how to report them in several languages.

Stay informed