We are all saddened, angered and appalled by the reportage of the Los Angeles Times that revealed the racist remarks made by Nury Martinez about a fellow city council member and his Black child.

Martinez was apparently secretly recorded during an Oct. 21, 2021 meeting, when she made the remarks during a discussion about redistricting with Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera.

Martinez was caught on audio released by an unknown person on Reddit disparaging fellow Councilmember Mike Bonin, who is White. Martinez can be heard quipping that “Bonin thinks he’s f**king Black.”

According to the Times, Martinez told a story about Bonin attending a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in LA and said that Bonin “handled his young Black son as though he were an accessory.” The boy is reportedly eight years old.

The Times reported that Martinez referred to Bonin’s child as, “Parece changuito,” describing him as being like a “monkey.”

Making matters worse, Martinez and the other city leaders were recorded discussing ways to help Latinos retain power at the expense of Black leaders.

Martinez has resigned as president of the LA Council as an act of contrition. However, leaders across California and the nation are calling for Martinez, Cedillo and de Leòn to resign from the council, including President Biden, Mayor Eric Garcetti and mayoral candidates Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) and developer Rick Caruso. Herrera has resigned from his powerful post as president of the labor federation.

CALÓ NEWS is working on news and opinion coverage to address this ongoing saga, which has unfolded shortly before the Nov. 8 election. We will have more to say as details emerge.

However, CALÓ NEWS condemns all racial epithets and hate speech. There is no excuse for such behavior, as Martinez has admitted herself in the wake of the news.

“I take responsibility for what I said and there are no excuses for those comments,” Martinez said in a statement. “I’m so sorry.”

What now? The political process will largely determine the fate of Martinez and her cohorts. What is essential going forward is to begin the work of healing between the Latino and Black communities. Both are bonded by struggle, similar circumstance and the cruelties of racism and subjugation.

Rogue political leaders should not be allowed to break those bonds. But there is no denying, as in this case, such repulsive leaders may indeed cause great damage.

History can be cruel, too. Martinez would like us to remember the good works she has done over the years. But many will now associate her name with racism, hate and betrayal.

You cannot live in LA without witnessing how Latinos live and work alongside whites, Blacks, Asians and other people of color in love and harmony. Most days, most hours, we do all get along, as Rodney King famously begged us to do back in May 1992. More than that, we respect each other. We help each other.

What now? Let’s focus on the healing. Let’s ensure our bonds are not only unbroken but rather remain strengthened by the heat of what has transpired.

Martinez does not speak for Latinos. Not anymore.

Daniel Vasquez

Daniel Vasquez is a veteran, award-winning journalist and writer. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist who grew up in newsrooms, having served stints at the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, San Jose...