People hold signs and shout slogans before the starting the Los Angeles City Council meeting on Oct. 11. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, File)

Editor’s note: This statement was issued last week prior to Councilmember Nury Martinez’s resignation.

Nikkei Progressives joins with the many justice-seeking Angelenos in demanding the immediate resignation of all three Los Angeles City Council members whose despicable racist remarks were revealed recently. City Council President Nury Martinez and Councilmembers Kevin De León and Gil Cedillo have caused pain and irreparable harm to marginalized communities and have exacerbated divisions in our city rather than bringing people together. They have lost the people’s trust and must resign in order for Los Angeles to begin to heal.

De León, who represents the 14th Council District, including Little Tokyo, has shown himself to be a poor leader at a time when the district had already suffered from the corruption of his predecessor, Councilman José Huizar.

City Council members were elected on public trust to make important decisions that affect the lives of millions of Angelenos of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, religions and sexual orientations. They should be exemplary in conduct and exhibit an unbiased attitude and compassion towards all the people they serve. Instead, we witnessed the most disgusting, crass, racist and anti-gay attitudes and statements by city council members.

Councilwoman Martinez called a Black child a “monkey” and referred to Oaxacans as short, dark, ugly people, while de León piled on and Cedillo was fine with it.

Their demeaning remarks were not a simple slip of the tongue, but an hour-long tirade that reflected deep-rooted and pervasive anti-Blackness, homophobia, and anti-Indigenous sentiments.

A verbal apology is not enough and Martinez stepping down from council presidency is not enough — only resignations from public office would serve as the first step in apologizing!

But beyond the removal of these City Council members, the conditions that give rise to bitter self-serving fights over district lines and resources and the lack of political representation must be addressed. An independent redistricting commission must be created and increasing the number of City Council districts to increase representation, along with reforms in election financing are first steps in creating a fairer system of city government.

The massive outrage and unrelenting demand that the city council members immediately resign show that Black, Indigenous, people of color and white Angelenos will not tolerate white supremacy and corruption. We want and deserve leaders who will join us in building coalitions and doing the hard work of fighting racism.

Nikkei Progressives stands in solidarity with all communities of color and marginalized communities. We will not be divided as we continue our fight for equality, justice and against white supremacy!

Martinez, de León and Cedillo – RESIGN NOW!

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  1. I have a question about this statement: “Their demeaning remarks were not a simple slip of the tongue, but an hour-long tirade….”. If this has been recorded and proven to be factual, I am not certain that those that publicly made these comments should be in positions where they may make decisions that affect all Angelenos. An hour long and recorded? How arrogant and misguided must their unspoken thoughts be?