LOS ANGELES — Today the National Foster Youth Institute joins our fellow community organizers, fighters for equity and social justice, and activists across Los Angeles in condemning the language in the recording released over the weekend.

We also join the calls for Nury Martinez, Gil Cedillo, and Kevin de León to resign from the LA City Council. They are not fit to lead our city forward. Giving up leadership positions while remaining on the council and carefully crafted apologies are not enough. Their language not only exposed their anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism and their homophobia, but it also indicated that they are committed to strengthening the systemic racism that plagues communities and families across this city. The only way to build a city where opportunities are accessible to all and resources are abundant is to dismantle the power brokering that intentionally weakens and discounts marginalized communities.

Most importantly, as an organization that is primarily concerned with the welfare of children and young adults, we were particularly disturbed that a child — a Black toddler — was spoken of using violent and dehumanizing terms. The language reinforced stereotypes that Black boys are dangerous, even when exhibiting normal toddler behavior, and that Black and Brown parents are violent. These stereotypes have led to the separation of families, the incarceration of children, and the overrepresentation of children of color in the child welfare system.

What this leak has exposed in our city is heartbreaking. But it is an opportunity for us to stand up to the powerful, hateful few by strengthening our coalitions and demanding change and accountability.