Pastor J. Edgar Boyd, Sr. Minister of First AME Church speaks at a press conference with faith, civil rights and community leaders at First AME Church in Los Angeles (Brian W. Carter/L.A. Sentinel)

“So, we’re here today, to join the voices of unity, in unity, a call with clarity, demanding Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León resign from their office and resign immediately,” said Pastor J. Edgar Boyd, senior minister of First AME Church of Los Angeles. 

On Tuesday, November 29, faith, civil rights and community leaders held a press conference calling for the resignation of Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León. Held at First AME Church of Los Angeles, the assembly included Laticia Mitchell, president of the Los Angeles NAACP; the Rev. K.W. Tulloss, president of the Baptist Minister’s Conference of Los Angeles and Southern California; the Rev. S. T. Williams, pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Los Angeles; Marsha Mitchell, lead coordinator of the Community Coalition; the Rev. Xavier Thompson, pastor of Southern St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, and more gathered to call for the councilmen to resign.  

Laticia Mitchell, president, Los Angeles NAACP speaks at a press conference with faith, civil rights and community leaders at First AME Church in Los Angeles (Brian W. Carter/L.A. Sentinel)

“Both of you have irreparably destroyed and betrayed the trust between you and your voters,” said Boyd. “You have shamed your constituents, you have disgraced the city of Los Angeles, you have outrightly attacked a colleague, a fellow member with the racist references that you made against him and his child.” 

The release of the tape recording of former L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez and former president of the L.A. County Federation of Labor Ron Herrera along with Cedillo and De León making racist and offensive comments about BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) and LGBTQ communities rocked Los Angeles.  

It immediately drew protests both outside and inside City Hall resulting in the resignation of Martinez and Herrera from their positions. Cedillo and De León have remained despite protests. The assembly of faith and community leaders at FAME Church called for the councilmembers to “do the right thing.”

Rev. William Smart, president, Los Angeles Chapter, Southern Christian Leadership Conference speaks at a press conference with faith, civil rights and community leaders at First AME Church in Los Angeles. (Brian W. Carter/L.A. Sentinel)

“I am here to tell Kevin de León it’s time for you to resign,” said Mitchell. “You are not helping the people in Council District 14 because you are not at the council meetings.”  

Mitchell continued, “Council District 14 needs new representation to start the new year. We know that Gil Cedillo — he’ll be out before 2023, he’s only staying for the money but, you Mr. De León, you need to do what Spike Lee told us years ago, do the right thing and resign now.” 

“Right now, in America, particularly in Los Angeles, there’s a negativity that is brewing in our community,” said Rev. William Smart, president of Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California. “It is very important that we establish and move forward in a beloved community that we have people that understand that you have to say the right words even behind closed doors.” 

Rev. Joe Paul associate, City of Refuge, Los Angeles speaks at a press conference with faith, civil rights and community leaders at First AME Church in Los Angeles (Brian W. Carter/L.A. Sentinel)

Rev. Smart continued, “Kevin de León, he has two more years, it’s time for him to resign now. We cannot afford to move forward with him on that City Council. We see the chaos that he has created in his district. We see that our revolutionary brothers and sisters refuse to allow the City Council to do business and so rightfully so, because we cannot afford him on that council anymore. He must resign and he must resign now!”     

“We stand here as healers of the breach for our communities quite often,” said Rev. Joe Paul associate minister at the City of Refuge. “I’ve been taught and told that change can only happen when trust has been established.”  

Paul continued, “Because of the fact that trust has been deteriorating to the degree where our president has leaned in, our governor has leaned in for the resignation of these estranged city councilman. We stand here today with the determination that trust must be established in our city council. We need to eliminate old vestiges of harm and distrust so that we can move forward.” 

“Today, we’re gathered here, side-by-side with our African American brothers and sisters, to demand that Kevin de León step down immediately,” said Pierre Tigerino, organizer for Centro Christiano Church  in Los Angeles. “Any elected official who is unable to bring this city together, this very diverse city, is unfit for office.” 

Tigerino translated for his father, Pastor Manuel Tigerino of Centro Christiano Church, Los Angeles. 

“We stand here in support of the African American community and all our families and children,” said Pastor Tigerino. “The Bible demands that we live in peace and respect so that we can live in peace in these communities. And we believe in standing as a community together in unity, so we can live in respect and love.  May God Bless you all.” 

“We’re here today, a strong representative of the faith community across Los Angeles, from a diversity of ethnic representation and those who serve in various capacities of employment,” concluded Boyd. 

“We come today with a unified, a single voice, a voice of reason, for the voice of a whole, a voice of responsibility.”