LOS ANGELES - Several Black and brown organizations came together to hold a protest in solidarity against the Los Angeles City Council following the racism scandal Wednesday.
Ron Gochez from Union del Barrio led the protest outside of LA City Hall Wednesday, demanding the resignations of Councilmembers Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo. Fomer council president Nury Martinez resigned from her council seat Wednesday afternoon, days following the backlash over the leaked audio tapes.
"We called for this action with Black organizations, brown organizations, and indigenous organizations, and we all unite on this issue," Gochez said. "We cannot accept these types of racist comments, or these people to be representing our cities. They gotta go now. One resigned (Martinez) today, and two more gotta go. We're gonna keep doing this until they're gone.".
Gochez said he read Martinez' statement Wednesday about her resignation, which noticeably left out an apology for the racist remarks.
"I think it speaks to her character. The first thing she should have done as soon as this came out was resign. That would have been the most decent thing to do, but her trying to resign her presidency first and seeing if she can stick along, I think that shows her character, and it's disgusting to be honest," said Gochez.
Members from the Oaxacan community joined in the protest along with a traditional Oaxacan band that performed.
"We're gonna feel it for many generations. Children heard these words. We have to stay strong and be stronger than Nury, than Kevin, Cedillo and Ron Herrera. You know they're gonna run for office in another place, in another time, and we have to remember this hate that they incited on people of color, especially indigenous people, Oaxacans, and Black and Jewish and Armenian people," said Odilia Romero.
Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, who also took part in the recorded October 2021 conversation, resigned from his post Monday night.
De León and Cedillo have not made any announcements regarding their resignation.
Gochez said there is a lot of work that will have to be done if and when more resignations come.
"We've done a lot of work in the community for decades to improve the relationship between Black and brown people. We are both colonized people living in one of the richest places in the world. We have the scraps of society and that's why we fight each other but we have to go above that moment and realize we have a lot more in common than we do different and that's why we have to unite if we want to improve our communities," said Gochez.
Governor Gavin Newsom released a statement following Martinez' resignation:
"This is the right move. Again, these comments have no place in our state, or in our politics, and we must all model better behavior to live the values that so many of us fight every day to protect."
Among many of the comments said in the recorded conversation, Martinez belittled Bonin, who is white and openly gay, and criticized his adopted Black son for his behavior at a Martin Luther King Day parade, saying the boy was misbehaving on a float, which might have tipped over if she and other women hadn't stepped in to "parent this kid."
"They're raising him like a little white kid," Martinez said. "I was like, `This kid needs a beatdown. Let me take him around the corner and then I'll bring him back."'
Martinez also called the child "ese changuito," Spanish for "that little monkey."
De León also criticized Bonin. "Mike Bonin won't f---ing ever say peep about Latinos. He'll never say a f---ing word about us," he said.
De León also compared Bonin's handling of his son at the MLK Parade to "when Nury brings her little yard bag or the Louis Vuitton bag."
"Su negrito, like on the side," Martinez added, using a Spanish term for a Black person that's considered demeaning by many.
Martinez also took aim at Los Angeles County District George Gascón in profane terms, after the group appeared to discuss whether Gascón would endorse Cedillo in his re-election campaign against Hernandez.
"F--- that guy. (inaudible) ... He's with the Blacks," she said of Gascón.
"We know these people (councilmembers) personally. We know each other by first name basis and I don't care. They gotta go because what they did does not represent our community, and it hurts our community when they attack the African American community," Gochez said. "Those are my people. Those are my neighbors. Those are my students. They can't do that, and I have every responsibility, we have the responsibility to denounce them and do what's right,"