Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez resigned from her position Monday after she and two other councilmembers were recorded making racist remarks.
Driving the news: In a statement announcing her resignation, Martinez asked for forgiveness “from my colleagues and from the residents of this city that I love so much.”
- “In the end, it is not my apologies that matter most; it will be the actions I take from this day forward. I hope that you will give me the opportunity to make amends. Therefore, effective immediately I am resigning as President of the Los Angeles City Council,” the statement continued.
- The California and Los Angeles branches of the NAACP demanded late Sunday that Martinez and the others resign after the Los Angeles Times reported she called a Black child a monkey.
- The NAACP chapters also called on Councilmembers Gil Cedillo, Kevin de León and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera to step down for participating in a discussion with anti-Black and anti-Indigenous comments.
Details: Martinez referred to a white councilmember’s child, who is Black, as “ese changuito,” or that little monkey, during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade, according to the leaked audio of a nearly year-old conversation.
- Martinez also reportedly said that the councilor, Mike Bonin, handled his son as though he were an “accessory.” She also referred to Bonin as a “little b—h.”
- Herrera suggested that Bonin puts his young son out in public like a lawn jockey, the racist statues used to invoke the antebellum South.
Martinez also is heard making fun of Indigenous people from the Mexican state of Oaxaca, who have migrated to Los Angeles.
- She referred to them as “short little dark people” and called them “ugly.”
What they’re saying: “This kind of overt racism has no place in political discourse,” Rick L. Callender, president of the CA/HI State Conference of the NAACP, said in a statement.
- “We clearly know where your heart and mind are, and both of them are corroded with the rust of racism and hate.”
Meanwhile, Los Angles Oaxacan chef, restaurateur, and Gold Award recipient Bricia Lopez joined in calls for resignations on social media.
- The words out of (Nury Martinez’s) mouth cut deep in the Oaxaca community of LA. I’ve dealt w my fair share of racism. But it’s ten times worse when it comes from a brown and woman. Girl, you gotta resign,” she tweeted.
Zoom out: The secretly recorded conversation revolved around the councilors’ frustration that the growing Latino population wasn’t resulting in more Latino council districts and concerns Black leaders were keeping some Black-majority ones.
- Martinez, De León, and Herrera have issued statements of apology for their roles in the conversation. Cedillo told the Los Angeles Times he had no memory of the discussion.
Of note: Protesters demonstrated outside of Martinez’s home and played portions of the audio recording on Sunday. Los Angeles police were later seen in a video shared on social media attempting to move the crowd away from her house.
- Further protests were organized for Monday, with images shared to social media showing demonstrations outside the home of de León.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a statement from Martinez confirming her resignation and details of further protests. The headline has also been updated.