(Los Angeles, California) – The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region (ANCA-WR) is appalled by the racist and unacceptable remarks made by LA City Council President Nury Martinez, Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de Leon, and LA County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera.
The statements made by the individuals in question not only betray their mission to serve all people, regardless of their identity, but explicitly demonstrate that they hold no regard for the diverse communities of Los Angeles. As victims of genocide, and targets of systemic racism and persecution for generations based on our ethnic and religious identity (including an ongoing Armenophobia campaign sponsored by Azerbaijan), the Armenian-American community is all too familiar with the unspeakable damage caused by continued animosity against any ethnic or racial group. Los Angeles is home to a rich and diverse population of communities from across the globe who came to Los Angeles seeking safety, opportunities, and a place of belonging in a city which strives to include all people. Such comments have no place in our city, and as Angelenos, we stand alongside all communities in their ongoing fight against hate, and we must relentlessly oppose any holder of public office who fails to join this fight with their words and actions.
Racist remarks directed at individuals and groups in Los Angeles are completely unacceptable, and reflect a dramatic and egregious failure on the part of the individuals involved to uplift, protect, and elevate all people of Los Angeles irrespective of their identities. Despite the fact that an investigation is needed to determine the manner in which the recording of this damaging conversation was made and disseminated, there can be no doubt that the comments made in the recording demonstrate that public servants must be held to a higher standard with respect to their statements and conduct both in public and in private. Public servants must look inward at themselves, and take these upsetting events as a lesson that Los Angeles will stand united against hate in all its forms, no matter how powerful the perpetrator, and no matter the context of their actions. As a city, we must recommit ourselves ever further to the vehement and unequivocal commitment to combat hate everywhere. Indeed, we must all live by the credo that hate directed at any of us is an assault on all of us.
Furthermore, the evident content of the conversation between the individuals in question places serious concern about the integrity of the redistricting process which was legally meant to operate for citizens, by citizens. It is our sincere hope that the consequences of the disclosure of these recordings warrant appropriate investigation if claims of gerrymandering are founded in reputable cause. The ANCA-WR had worked tirelessly with community members across Los Angeles to advocate for the unity and integrity of our community alongside the many diverse and valued communities of Los Angeles. It is our hope that the process was not compromised, and that The LA Citizens Redistricting Commission diligently served all people of Los Angeles equally and without discrimination for their racial, ethnic, or any other identity they hold, and this process is one that should not be tarnished by the illegal intervention of policymakers in back-door meetings held outside of the public sphere afforded to citizens. The ANCA-WR stands with all communities in calling for the immediate resignation of all those involved in the recorded conversation because healing can only begin when Los Angeles takes a stand that it will never provide a safe-haven for racism in any form.