Mike Bonin ‘in shock’ over racist remarks about his son


LA City Councilman Mike Bonin told those in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting that he was outraged by the racist and derogatory comments made by his co-workers and recently revealed in leaked audio recordings.

In an emotional speech, Bonin responded to the racist language used by then Council President Nury Martinez and other council members to describe his son, who is black.

“These words, they cut and they sting,” Bonin said. He described the anguish of seeing his son in the spotlight and addressed council members directly on tape: “You have to step down first, then ask for forgiveness.”

Council President Nury Martinez makes racist remarks about Council Member Mike Bonin’s young son as others chime in during this part of the conversation. The group was discussing a dispute between council members Curren Price and Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who disagreed last year over which district would represent USC and Exposition Park once the new maps were finalized. The clip begins with Martinez recounting a conversation she allegedly had with businessman Danny Bakewell.

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times published leaked audio of meetings between Martinez, council members Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León and former Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, in which Martinez said that Bonin was using his son as a “prop” and comparing the child. to a monkey.

Herrera has since resigned and Martinez has taken time off after stepping down as chairman of the board.

Below is a transcript of Bonin’s speech:

Thanks. Thanks. Good morning everyone. Thanks. I really, really don’t want to be here today. I want – I want to be home with my family right now.

But I want to say a few words. I’m still trying to understand everything that’s been said and everything that’s going on. My husband and I are both raw and angry and heartbroken and sick. For our family and for Los Angeles. And as an Angeleno, like most Angelenos, I’m in shock at the revelations of what these people said. Trusted servants who expressed their hatred and their bile. Servants are meant to call us to our highest selves. And these people stabbed and shot us and cut the spirit of Los Angeles. He gave a boost to the heart and soul of the city. But first of all, I’m a dad.

I’m a father who loves his son in a way words can’t capture – and I take a lot of beatings, and damn it, I know I practically invite a whole lot of them. But my son? Man, it makes my soul bleed and it burns me. And I know I’m not alone. Because Los Angeles has spoken and it’s the same thing. When the LA Times called me on Saturday, I was out of town and away from my family. And the reporter summarized some tapes. And my first instinct as a father was to implore them, not to tell the story or at least to be vague. Please say “racist remarks about my son” but I didn’t want to see the details printed. I didn’t want him to have to hear them or read them one day. I also knew that the tapes contained much more – learned even more over the past two days – much more than the comments about my son. As a white father of a black child, you stumble and screw up and try to do your best to be a parent and an ally and I’m often wrong. I get it sometimes. I knew I didn’t want the story of virulent anti-black racism to center on an angry white father. And you know, I was afraid it was a California section. It made international headlines.

These words, they cut and they stung. I know that I will never be able to truly know, understand or feel the weight of the relentless everyday racism, anti-black racism that my son is going to face.

But man, I know the fire you feel when someone tries to destroy the black boy’s joy. Man. It’s a rage. You know, my husband and I were brought up in a time when, as gay people, we didn’t think we’d be married or allowed to have kids or allowed to have families because our relationships and our families were considered – and a lot of things on those tapes stung. Well, in the last few days I’ve heard about way more than me and my family have heard about attacks on the Oaxaqueña community, I’ve heard the homophobic tropes. I heard the anti-Semitic remarks. I have heard of incredible and coordinated efforts to disenfranchise black people and tenants and to weaken the voice of progressives. And to undermine anyone trying to build a coalition. It’s overwhelming and I’m outraged and sick of it.

But there are many people who now ask for forgiveness. And asking for forgiveness is a good first step. But hey, it’s a second step because first, first you have to resign and then ask for forgiveness. But let’s be clear: people shouldn’t ask me for forgiveness, because I can’t forgive them because it’s not my prerogative. It’s the prerogative of a boy who was too young to really understand what was going on. And when he’s older, maybe when he’s in high school, you can ask him for forgiveness.

Times writer Benjamin Oreskes contributed to this report.


Los Angeles Times

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