Several Asian American and Pacific Islander groups joined demands Monday for three Los Angeles City Council people to resign following bigoted comments about Blacks, Indigenous, LGBTQ and Koreatown.
The League of California Cities Asian Pacific Islander Caucus said the remarks were “egregious and completely unbecoming for elected officials from the most diverse city in the state. Such speech threatens the Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Asian solidarity so many of us have struggled to build and sustain,” the group said in a statement sent to AsAmNews. It called for all three to resign
In the recording, Council members Nury Martinez, Kevin de Leon and Gil Cedillo can be heard along with former LA Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera.
Martinez is heard calling Indigenous people from Central America that live in Koreatown as “son feos,” which means “they’re ugly” in Spanish.
“Yeah, that’s called K-Town,” Cedillo says.
“I see a lot of short dark people,” said Martinez.
“Paxacan Korean. Not even like Kevin, little ones,” Cedillo responds.
“I don’t know what village they came from. How they got there, but “son feos,” Martinez concludes.
In another part of the tape, Martinez calls the Black son of a White council member as “ese changuito,” or that little monkey.
Cedillo, De Leon and Herrera did not challenge Martinez. The recording made a year ago was just leaked on Sunday.
“We at the AAPI Victory Fund are truly appalled at the racist, homophobic, and abhorrent comments that were made by these elected leaders in Los Angeles,” said President and CEO of the AAPI Victory Fund Brad Jenkins, who is both Black and Asian. “We hold the strong belief that our elected officials, in both the private and public spheres, must display a dedication to equity and inclusivity. Los Angeles is a city that is filled with diversity, and to hear that council members have made derogatory remarks towards the same people that they are elected to represent is despicable. We, at the AAPI Victory Fund, are calling for an immediate resignation for all involved.”
Annie V Lam, founder and executive director of APIs Mobilize and a board member of Asian American Media Inc (the non-profit arm of AsAmNews) said “as the daughter of Chinese refugees from Vietnam and the mother of a biracial Latina/Asian daughter, I am horrified to hear these words from elected officials who are supposed to be the leaders fighting for our BIPOC communities. We must address the hurt caused by these harmful words.” API Mobilize also called for the three to resign.
Herrera resigned Monday from the Labor Federation, reported ABC7, and Martinez stepped down as council president, but remains on the council. She is also taking a leave of absence.
President Biden has also chimed in on the controversy and also called for the three to resign.
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