After Leak of Racist Remarks in LA, We Need Systemic Change for Indigenous and Black Justice 

October 18, 2022
Elyssa Pachico  | +1 503 347 23 29 | [email protected] 
Myneilles Negron | +1 703 585 6727 | [email protected]


Last week saw the beginning of large-scale mobilizations by the Los Angeles Indigenous and Black communities and allies, after leaked audio revealed racist comments by three city council members and a labor leader. The anti-Indigenous and anti-Black slurs in the secretly recorded conversation rightfully garnered widespread condemnation, but beyond resignations, what’s needed now is long-term systemic change.


There are still many unanswered questions around the leaked conversation — who recorded it back in October 2021? Why was it revealed now? What interests will be strengthened and weakened, in the short and long-term, as the result of this revelation? Ultimately, the recorded conversation between the city council members was a reminder of how internalized oppression and racism can lead to hate and ignorant prejudices across racial and ethnic lines. This must always be rejected, no matter the origin. 


One example of leadership and a path forward is CIELO, an LA-based, Indigenous-women-led non-profit that is a member of the Alianza Americas coalition. CIELO has been at the forefront of leading direct actions across the city, including a Saturday march that called for justice for California’s Oaxacan community. As CIELO has noted, for the LA city government to take a much-needed step in the right direction, it should fully fund a language access plan. That means guaranteeing access to services and/or interpretation in Indigenous languages, from courts to hospitals to other vital city agencies.


For far too long, racism has made it difficult for Indigenous persons, particularly those of Mesoamerican origin living and working in Los Angeles, to access basic services. Now is the time for the LA city council to demonstrate its commitment to language justice, and stop treating its Mesoamerican Indigenous communities as invisible. 


For Alianza Americas, racial and ethnic prejudice, including by people of Latin American origin, is nothing new. Since our founding in 2004, a central tenet of our work has been incorportating actions intended to help our communities unlearn centuries of oppressive ways of thinking and practices, resulting from the brutal experience of colonization by European powers. The revelations of racist comments by key elected officials in Los Angeles strengthens our resolve to continue working to overcome racial and ethnic prejudice in all its forms, and particularly in its structural and systemic expressions.



Alianza Americas is the premier transnational advocacy network of Latin American migrant-led organizations working in the United States, across the Americas, and globally to create an inclusive, equitable and sustainable way of life for communities across North, Central and South America. In 2022, Alianza integrated with, establishing a stronger digital organizing powerhouse.  

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