Latina LA council president resigns after leaked racist remarks
Other lawmakers are facing scrutiny after being exposed for partaking in racist comments.
Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez submitted her resignation from the council presidency on Monday after leaked audio a day earlier revealed her verbal attacks and racist behavior against African-Americans and Indigenous Mexicans.
In her resignation statement, she said: “I sincerely apologize to the people I hurt with my words... as someone who believes deeply in the empowerment of communities of color, I recognize my comments undercut that goal. Going forward, reconciliation will be my priority.”
The audio of Martinez, the city's first Latina council president, was a recording of her speaking last year to fellow council members Kevin De Leon and Gil Cedillo and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, and spread quickly when The Los Angeles Times soon picked it up.
Martinez labeled Councilman Mike Bonin's son as a “monkey,” (Bonin is African-American), referenced another councilmember as being “with the Blacks,” and ridiculed indigenous Oaxacans who live in Koreatown calling them “a lot of little short dark people” and “ugly.”
The words “Nury” and “resign" were highly trending on Twitter Sunday, exhibiting the people of Los Angeles' rage and leading to apologies being issued by Martinez and the involved lawmakers in the recording, followed by Bonin's demand for her, De Leon, and Herrera to step down.
“Any parent reading her comments will know she is unfit for public office,” Bonin said of Martinez, adding: “No child should ever be subjected to such racist, mean and dehumanizing comments, especially from a public official. It is painful to know he will someday read these comments.”
Mitch O’Farrell, former Los Angeles mayor, replaced Martinez and is the first Native American to hold the office.
Racism in the US is not a topic nor a headline, it is a description of what the US political system is and condones. For long, African-Americans, Latinos and Indigenous peoples in the US are bound to white supremacist and racist ideologies nurtured by the abuse of power in legislation and law enforcement. African-Americans are unfortunately living in a cradle-to-prison path in the US whereby they are born into a system that labels them from birth as 'criminal'. Statistics show that African-Americans are more likely to be falsely convicted 7 times more than white Americans before being exonerated, as they account for 53% of the 3,200 incarcerated as of August 2022.
They are also born into system that offers them what doesn't come close to basic human rights - lack of clean water in their residential areas (Flint and Jackson), police brutality and employment discrimination. Even a study in April 2022 showed that 25% of African-American elders over the age of 60 felt their health professional treated them unjustly or did not take their concerns seriously because of their race or ethnic origin.
Jackson residents in Mississippi witnessed a major water crisis in September, with thousands unable to access clean water, and attempts to restore water supplies were fruitless as they witnessed an unexpected setback of a chemical imbalance and reduced water pressure mix. Systemic and environmental racism was identified as among the causes of Jackson's ongoing water issues and lack of resources to address them. According to census data, about 82.5% of Jackson's population identifies as Black or African American while the state's legislature is majority White. This is not the first water crisis in a majority-African-American city, as Flint, Michigan suffered greatly in 2014 from the same issue and a significant factor of negligence towards the city due to systemic and environmental racism has led Flint to still have not-completely-safe water.