LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Holly J. Mitchell shared the following video message in response to the hurtful and racist comments from Los Angeles City Councilmembers Nury Martinez, Kevin de León, Gil Cedillo, and LA County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera.
So, it’s been a pretty emotional weekend and day, and I decided I would go on IG live to express why it’s been emotional for me and perhaps many of you. The irony as we celebrate the history, the contributions, the culture of our Indigenous brothers and sisters, that
on Indigenous People’s Day, that we are overwhelmed in the media by ugly, hateful language expressed by our elected leaders who should be and must be, the standard bearers in our communities and should be held to a higher standard.
Let me start by saying racism is a disease that must be confronted head on and dealt with and addressed and dug out of our bodies, of our systems, of our communities. And I condemn those hateful words that were stated. And I think it’s important that we all acknowledge that we have work to do if we want to be active anti-racists. We all have work to do because what we’ve all heard play on the airways these last 48 to 72 hours is not new.
A month ago, the LA Times wrote an article about Black workers in Orange County who are filing EEOC claims against their Latino supervisors for similar language. Let’s remember about the conversation when my former colleague, Dr. Shirley Webber was appointed as Secretary of State and my Latino brothers and sisters who condemned that because they felt it was a, quote, missed opportunity because there are no Latino statewide elected officers. Let’s remember the conversations that happened in the Black community when Senator Alex Padilla was appointed, and we lost the only Black woman sitting in the U.S. Senate. We have work to do to truly figure out how we create bridges.
This is about power. And we need to figure out and talk about proactively, how we can respect each other’s cultures while representing our communities. This is a process. This isn’t about this one IG live or me writing a statement condemning the actions of those electeds. This is work that must be sustained over time.
I’m proud of the work that my team and I are doing and have been working on for almost a year now. Our Racial Justice Learning Exchange, a racial justice learning exchange where we are reading books together, we are watching films together, we are having people come in and have facilitated conversations to help us unpack all of the racist ideology that we are bombarded with, messages that we hear in our own communities, outside our communities. It takes work to be an anti-racist. And so, I hope that we all can make a commitment to ourselves to do the work individually, together, so this moment in time won’t just be a moment in time, but hopefully for some, will be a launching pad to do better and be better. Because in my humble perspective, our very lives depend on it.
Racism is a disease that must end, must be weeded out in every aspect of our lives, in government, in our communities, in our homes, wherever it finds itself. I appreciate you listening and sharing some time with me, and I remain committed to be an anti-racist myself and leading with antiracist principles. Let’s all figure out on this Indigenous People’s Day how we can truly be committed to elevating and lifting up with respect for cultures that are different from ours. Thank you.