Several members of the L.A. City Council are under fire after leaked audio revealed City Council President Nury Martinez making racist remarks about the Black child of a Councilmember.
The New York Times reports in a profanity-laced recording from a meeting with two other councilmembers, Matinez compared the Black son of white Councilmember Mike Bonin to a “changuito,” a Spanish term for a little monkey and referred to Oaxacan immigrants residing in Koreatown as “short little dark people.”
Making matters worse is that the two council members Martinez was talking to during the recording, Councilmembers Kevin de León and Bill Cedillo laughed and made jokes following Martinez’s jokes.
Martinez announced her resignation from her post as city council president Sunday. However, on Monday, she announced she will stay on the council, taking a leave of absence from the council but not resigning from it.
“I take responsibility for what I said, and there are no excuses for those comments,” Martinez said in a statement on Monday. “As a mother, I know better and I am sorry. I am truly ashamed,” she added.
De León and Cedillo also apologized but have not resigned. Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, who was also at the meeting where Martinez made the comments, did resign Sunday.
The incident has led to many calling for all three members of the city council to resign including Mayor Eric Garcetti, multiple members of the city council and mayoral candidate Karen Bass.
On Tuesday, the City Council faced angry L.A. residents who are still angry with what they now see as a city council with multiple racist members.
Bonin addressed the city council and the angry residents where he also called for Martinez’s resignation at the meeting Tuesday.
“I take a lot of hits, and I know I practically invite a bunch of them. But my son? it makes my soul bleed,” Bonin said while crying. “Asking for forgiveness is a good first step. Well, it’s a second step because first you must resign and then ask for forgiveness.
“I know I can never really know or comprehend the real weight of the daily relentless anti-Black racism my son is going to face, but man, I know the fire that you feel when someone tries to destroy Black boy joy. Man, it’s a rage,” Bonin added.
According to the L.A. Times, when the doors opened for the meeting, among the crowd was a group wearing Black t-shirts saying “I’m with the Blacks,” a reference to L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón, who said he was “with the Blacks,” and drew profanities from Martinez in the recording.
“For us, it was about not just representing and being proud of being ‘the Blacks,’ Sade Elawary, who was with the group, told the L.A. Times. “But also providing the platform for other people of color to be proud to stand in solidarity with Black people in a way that shouldn’t be denigrated or diminished in the way that she did.”
The incident likely means the end of the political rise of Martinez, who in 2019 became the first Hispanic woman to lead the Los Angeles City Council and previously served on the Los Angeles Unified School District Board.