By Maxim Elramsisy
LOS ANGELES — The recent City Hall controversy over a year-old tape-recorded meeting was discussed during a fireside chat during the California Hawaii Conference of the NAACP’s state convention Oct. 22.
Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin, NAACP California Hawaii President Rick Callender and Julianne Malveaux, dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at Cal State Los Angeles, took part in the discussion.
Bonin has a Black adopted son who was one of the focal points of the controversy that has led to the resignations of former City Council President Nury Martinez and Ron Herrera, head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. City Councilmen Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo have so far rejected calls for their resignations.
“The attitude that they had of contempt and racism did not surprise me,” Bonin said during the discussion. “This was about the three of them holding power. … They said, because I voted with Marqueece [Harris-Dawson], Curren [Price Jr.] and my other colleagues, I was the fourth Black member. … They went after the organization that Karen Bass founded, the Community Coalition, which is based on a Black-brown coalition.
“They went after [the Korean Immigrant Worker Association], which is based on multiracial collaboration. They were against the idea of people working together. Their whole thing was about divide. Their whole thing was for them to win. Somebody else had to lose.”
“One of the things that I think we should be actually calling for is the official censure of these offending council members, and we need to take away their pay,” Callender said.
“If they want to sit there, if they want to do something, they should do it without receiving any money. … They refused to resign, refuse to pay them, … They took Mark Ridley-Thomas’ pay the exact same way.”
“We’re literally looking at every possible thing,” Bonin said. “There is no one on the council who wants them there.”
The City Council did vote to censure Martinez, de León and Cedillo Oct. 26.
The fireside chat was the highlight of the three-day convention Oct. 21-23.
Workshops and discussions were held covering pressing issues confronting African Americans and other communities of color in California and Hawaii.
Activities included “Stop the Hate” and discrimination training, a health forum, a reparations townhall, an economic development panel discussion, workshops for youth and college-aged members, an environmental justice workshop and the Annual Gwen Moore Utilities Workshop.
The President Awards Dinner honored the activism and achievements of high-preforming members and NAACP branches. Honorees included D’Adrea Davie of Stockton, a real estate agent and advocate for building generational wealth; and Yusef Miller of San Diego, a leader of Racial Justice Coalition.
Jeanette Ellis-Royston of Pomona, an appointee of the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission, was also honored for her volunteer work. The Butte County, Hayward and San Francisco NAACP branches were honored for their advocacy and programming.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump gave the keynote address at a youth-focused dinner Oct. 21. Crump has a national reputation as an advocate for social justice and is known for his representation of clients like the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Jacob Blake and Daunte Wright. The Rev. Al Sharpton calls him Black America’s attorney general.
Maxim Elramsisy is a reporter for California Black Media.