CBE Statement on Racist Comments by Los Angeles City Councilmembers Nury Martinez, Gil Cedillo, Kevin De León, and former LA County Fed President Ron Herrera

(Full post) Councilmembers Nury Martinez, Gil Cedillo, and Kevin de León must resign NOW!  We denounce the racist, violent, anti-Black, anti-Indigenous, and homophobic rhetoric heard in the leaked audio from public servants and a labor leader, some of whom CBE has worked with closely in pursuit of environmental health and justice. These Councilmembers and former labor leader have betrayed our trust, the trust of their constituents, and communities across Los Angeles. We demand accountability for their racism and assault upon democracy. There is no place for bigotry in the movement for environmental justice.

Community members are the true voices of Los Angeles. No politician or city leader can take away from the beauty, power, and worth of the Black American/ African American/ African Descent, Indigenous, Central/ South American, and Latine/Latinx communities in LA. CBE is committed to centering and advancing the rights and dignity of multiracial, multiethnic, LGBTQIA+, tenants, families, and children in Los Angeles and across the state.  We are fighting to dismantle institutional and systemic racism, white advantage, settler colonialism, and anti-Blackness that is pervasive and divisive.  

The recorded backroom conversations are indicative of gerrymandering. Equally troubling is that Latine/x Councilmembers Martinez, Cedillo, and De León’s callous plans to remove assets from Black communities are reminiscent of redlining, a historically discriminatory practice that limited resources and services to communities based on racial characteristics, which still affects these communities today. In addition to voicing repugnant views, we believe that these three councilmembers may have violated California’s vital sunshine law, the Brown Act, whose purpose is to prevent backroom, biased decision-making. Therefore, we ask for a full investigation into these conversations and the historical actions of these council members. CBE joins allies in the call to reevaluate the redistricting process, as we also believe that these councilmembers were actively strategizing to erase Black political power.  

Far too often in our communities, some people embody white advantage ideals and actions to compete for resources and power. As we collectively move towards a Just Transition and towards a better way of being, we must address bigotries so as not to replicate the same policies and actions that got us here. 

Angelenos deserve elected officials who value the richness of diversity and work towards building our collective power and liberation. Unity and solidarity are needed now more than ever. We join our movement partners to demand the immediate resignation of Martinez, Cedillo, and De León. Together, we can root out people who aim to divide us, move forward in electing the representation communities deserve, and deliver on equity and justice