Oaxacans march in L.A. as protestors camp outside Councilmember Kevin De León's home
Despite calls for resignation, Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo have retained their jobs.
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In the aftermath of the Los Angeles City Council racism scandal, only two leaders featured in the leaked secret conversation recording still remain in their posts after the resignations of former Council President Nury Martínez and Ron Herrera, former president of the California Federation of Labor.
Councilmembers Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo have refused to give up their posts despite backlash and calls for resignation from residents, city officials, and even President Joe Biden.
This past weekend was one of uncertainty as the country had its eyes on L.A. amid a scandal that quickly made national headlines. There was speculation the two councilmembers would use the weekend to resign but that did not happen.
Instead, the fallout continued, with protestors camping outside of De León’s home in Boyle Heights, calling for his job, and hundreds of protestors and members of the Oaxacan community took to the streets on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 15, to protest and march their way towards City Hall.
It was part a show of defiance against the racism directed at the community, and also to show the city and rest of the country their proud heritage and rich culture.
Outside of Mexico, L.A. is home to the biggest Oaxacan community. According to an expert who spoke to the L.A. Times, there are over 200,000 Zapotecs in L.A.
Zapotecs are an Indigenous group that are primarily concentrated in the Southern Mexican state of Oaxaca with a current population stemming from 400,000 to 600,000, with a huge chunk that reside in Los Angeles after a mass migration occurred in the 1940s in search of jobs and a better life.
Director and co-founder of CIELO, Comunidades Indígenas en liderazgo, an Indigenous women-led non-profit organization, Odilia Romero, told the L.A. Times at the march that people from all over the state have came in support, “from farm workers to construction workers, because Indigenous people are essential to the economy of this city, of this state and of this country.”
She added it’s important for the two remaining Council members involved to resign.
“They cannot continue representing the highest population of Indigenous people's district, when you think and talk about them in such a despicable way,” Romero continued.
The protestors had signs proudly displaying the names of pueblos, such as San Bartolomé Zoogocho, Santa María Xochixtepec and Santiago Zoochila. Bands also played 'sones' and 'jarabes,' that represent music of their community and heritage.
They also chanted, “Se ve, se siente, Oaxaca está presente.”
“You see it, you feel it, Oaxaca is present.”
Once they reached City Hall, they chanted “Afuera,” “Out,” after the names of De León and Cedillo were called out.
Beyond demanding resignations, protestors want redistricting decisions and other policies that the councilmembers worked on affecting the Black community to be further reviewed. Also in the leaked conversation, the councilmembers were heard planning how to manipulate district lines in favor of Latinos that would diminish the Black community as a result.
"I think the most important thing is that the context of the conversation was redistricting. So you can see how these prejudicial beliefs, anti-Black beliefs permeate into our system and into our policies," protester Michael Williams told ABC News 7 in L.A. "So now all of our policies have to be put into question, every vote de León and Gil Cedillo and Nury were part of have to be called into question for their anti-Blackness."