By Héctor Huezo, JMA California Director
On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times and Knock LA reported on leaked recordings revealing racist, anti-Black, and reprehensible remarks made by City Council President Nury Martinez in conversation with Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de Leon, and County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera. These comments were directed at other elected officials and their families under the context of a discussion on redistricting.
Jobs to Move America condemns these statements and strongly urges the Mayor, City Council and the City’s top officials to stand with LA’s Black leaders and community in taking steps towards materially eliminating anti-Blackness in all its forms at City Hall and in Los Angeles.
These comments come at a time when decades of systemic oppression, criminalization, gentrification and racial capitalism have all raised tensions for Black working families seeking to get ahead. Following the pandemic, evidence has shown that Black women in particular suffered the most adverse impacts from job loss over any other group, and this is following data that showed that Black households have the lowest rates of recovery following the 2008 financial crisis.
Los Angeles’s once vibrant Black communities and corridors have seen extremely high rates of displacement and relocation to places like the Antelope Valley, or into San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. We have a Black jobs crisis in Los Angeles that is making it increasingly difficult for Black families to remain here. And yet, amidst all of this disproportionate harm faced by LA’s Black families, hearing elected leaders seeking to seize the opportunity to further disenfranchise Black voting power, and tear down their colleagues, is beyond reproach.
Jobs to Move America is committed to building Black power and fostering Black, Brown and Indigenous solidarity for a more fair and just economic future. We’ve done this through deep organizing that has linked Black workers and workers of color across state lines to raise standards for how our transit infrastructure is built. We’ve fought to ensure that publicly supported companies in fact offer family-sustaining jobs. We’ve created formalized agreements with companies directly to ensure that we’re prioritizing the people most impacted by systemic racism and disenfranchisement in how companies recruit, train and hire workers. And we’ll continue to work internally to ensure that our organization reflects the outcomes we seek to win through research, policy, and organizing.
Whether it’s universal fareless transit, decriminalizing poverty, housing people, transparency in public spending or putting people to work in high quality union jobs, we stand in solidarity with Los Angeles’s Black community. It is only through solidarity that we will be able to tackle the climate crisis and remake our economy into the democratized, fossil-free future that all working people deserve. And it is only through solidarity that we’ll be able to push our colleagues in labor, in the environmental movement, in government and in positions of power to recognize that anti-Blackness has no place in the future we’re building today.