Nury Martinez, the first Latina president in the history of the Los Angeles City Council, resigned from the legislative body on Wednesday (October 12) after receiving nationwide backlash for racist remarks she made last year.
On Monday (October 10), Martinez resigned as president but not from the entire council. The following day, she took a leave of absence as fellow council members, residents and President Biden demanded for her to step down.
Martinez’s racist comments were made in October 2021 during a private meeting with council members Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo and labor leader Ron Herrera. During the conversation, which was leaked on Sunday (October 9), Martinez called the Black son of another council member a “changuito” (little monkey) and made other derogatory statements.
Council members introduced a motion on Tuesday to censure Martinez, de León, and Cedillo and demanded their resignation. “Their actions and inactions were completely contrary to the standard of conduct that the public is entitled to demand of its elected public servants,” the motion reads. “They demonstrated contempt and disrespect toward communities and individuals they were elected to serve, and they have damaged the public’s faith in how this city is governed.”
In a statement released Wednesday to announce her resignation, Martinez wrote about why she ran for office, listed her accomplishments, and recognized her constituents, colleagues, city employees, staff, and family for their work and support. What she failed to do, however, was to mention the racist comments she made that led to her resignation or to apologize for those remarks. That was met with expected pushback.
When the audio leaked on Sunday, Nury Martinez said, “In a moment of intense frustration and anger, I let the situation get the best of me, and I hold myself accountable for these comments. For that I am sorry.”
She ended her latest statement with a message to all Latina little girls. “I hope I’ve inspired you to dream beyond that which you can see.” This was meant with instant pushback from our communities as many do not wish to be inspired by someone who claims to be for the people but treats them differently based on the color of their skin.