RELA

Our statement on the leaked racist recordings

We unequivocally condemn the repugnant, racist statements from Councilmembers Nury Martinez, Kevin De Leon, and Gil Cedillo, and demand their immediate resignation.

It is evident that they conspired to weaken Black political power, dehumanized Indigenous people, harmed AAPI people, used homophobic language, and demeaned poor and working class communities, renters, and people of Jewish and Armenian descent. All this in the name of the most transactional and power hungry gerrymandering scheme imaginable.

We cannot and will not stand for anti-Black racism, anti-indigeneity, anti-LGBTQ+ slurs, or any rhetoric, behaviors–or policies–that dehumanize marginalized people in LA County.

The Re-Imagine L.A. Coalition rose out of the global uprisings and righteous civil unrest fighting against pervasive anti-Black racism. It was birthed in resistance to vigilante and state-sanctioned murders and incarceration of Black people. The civil uprisings of 2020 mobilized coalitions of Black, Indigenous, Queer and Gender Expansive, working class and poor communities under a single clarion call that #BlackLivesMatter, and that achieving racial justice requires that we #DefundThePolice and invest in critical community services.

Our condemnation doesn’t end at the remarks heard in the recording. We condemn what we know to be true in our City and County budgets–a racial injustice embedded in policies that prioritize incarceration and policing over community-based services. Without fundamental, systemic changeand a seismic shift in our collective prioritiesBlack communities will continue to be harmed even if Martinez, De Leon and Cedillo do the right thing and resign. 

The LA City Council and County Board of Supervisors spend more than $7 Billion on police and jails annually, disproportionately criminalizing and caging Black people. Our local government has failed to provide adequate affordable housing; passed ordinances like 41.18 that criminalize our unhoused neighbors; and spends more than $1 million per year to incarcerate a single young person from our communities.

In 2020, more than 2.1 million voters helped pass Measure J, demanding L.A. County re-imagine public safety and enact a care first budget. We must continue to support the work of Black movement leaders working to divest from ineffective carceral systems and invest in critical services.

Power must not rest in the hands of unaccountable elected officials, but be delivered back to the people–voting residents, immigrants, and people disenfranchised from this corrupt political process. Building Black and Brown solidarity across our communities is far more powerful than the divisive rhetoric of back door deals. 

We must and we will continue to fight together until all of us are free.