Eunisses Hernandez will soon fill the LA City Council seat occupied by Gil Cedillo. He was one of the three Latino council members caught on tape talking about redistricting.
As an incoming LA City Council member, Hernandez sat in the front row of Tuesday’s raucous meeting. She says it was important for her to be there for a few reasons.
“Number one: to stand and support my colleague [Councilmember] Mike Bonin and his family … and as a Latina woman to be present, and to show that what we've heard in those audio tapes is not reflective of all of our community.”
She adds that it was a message to her future constituents.
“I'm willing to do the work — and to continue to do the work — to do healing and to build bridges amongst our communities, particularly to Black and Brown communities.”
Former city council president Nuri Martinez resigned today. Now Hernandez is waiting for Cedillo and councilman Kevin De Léon to follow suit.
“They're prolonging this — prolonging the pain. Prolonging the pushback. Even today in the council meeting, you see people are still yelling and urging that they resign.”
She adds that she’s very angry about the content of the leaked audio not just because of the power-play in the discussions about redistricting, but because of what came out of that meeting.
“We have now seen that that conversation has had real-life implications … both in the redistricting process and destroying Nithya [Raman’s] district and appointing someone for CD-10.”
And Hernandez believes that the lawmakers missed the mark by not including LA’s most dire issues and steps to address them in their conversation. “They're not talking about the systemic issues around homelessness, around lack of affordable housing, and how it impacts predominantly Black, Brown, Indigenous, communities of color, and low-income communities.”
She fears that the comments in the tape could flare tensions between Black and Brown communities, which Hernandez has been trying to repair for years.
She says, “On the ground, at the community level, people like myself, people like Assemblymember Isaac Bryan, Kenneth Mejia, Hugo Soto Martinez — have done for years the labor of building bridges between our communities, to uplift the communities that are most disproportionately impacted by the systemic failures of our city. And for them to do this erases a lot of that work. And it takes us back decades, that now we have to again … try to fix the errors of the generations before us.”
Can anything positive come out of the release of the tape?
Hernandez says yes. “I come from the Latino community. I’ve seen the anti-Blackness, the racism in my community, and it's taken me years to move people into a better direction. And so I believe that it's possible, but it requires patience. It requires love, it requires political education.”