Tonight, J.C. Hurtado-Prater stood with fellow community leaders requesting the Chula Vista City Council to call for the resignation of Hector Gastelum from the Otay Water District Board of Directors in response to his inappropriate comments towards Muslims, women, African-Americans, Latinos and members of the LGBTQ community.
You can read Jason's comments here (the transcript is below):
Good evening, Mayor Salas and members of the City Council. Thank you for this opportunity to speak.
I stand before you today to implore the members of this esteemed council to place on a future agenda a vote to call for the resignation of Hector Gastelum from the Otay Water District Board of Directors. As an Afro-Latino and a proud member of the Chula Vista community, I believe that calling for the resignation of Gastelum will send a powerful message to our citizens and to the citizens across San Diego County that in the South Bay – and in Chula Vista – we hold our public officials to highest of standards in their conduct and their speech.
Look, I serve as a pastor on staff at a Christian church here in Chula Vista. I understand the values of compassion, of mercy, of forgiveness, of acceptance, of second chances. What I do not understand is how anyone – especially a pubic official - can make the hateful comments Gastelum made towards Muslims and then offer a sorry excuse for an apology and expect to remain in his seat. If I may remind the Council and those in attendance today… This is the apology Gastelum offered: “It's never my intention to be hurtful but nowadays sometimes people are hypersensitive….”
What a poor excuse for an apology.
As I stated before, I am an Afro-Latino. My father was Latino, my mother was black and due to the circumstances surrounding my birth, they chose to give me up for adoption. I was adopted by a loving white family and raised in a small town in Indiana – a town where racism was very much alive 38 years ago. I will never forget walking out of K-Mart with my adopted mother… a car pulled up to her and me… The person inside rolled down the window, threw a drink at my mother and yelled one of the most obscene racial phrases I had ever heard.
But my mother was a brilliant, educated woman – a teacher who recently retired after nearly 40 years as a public school teacher.
Ignorant people say ignorant things.
Well, esteemed members of this Council; Hector Gastelum said an ignorant thing. And in the South Bay we have no time and no room for ignorance, especially from those who desire to lead us.
One more time, I call for this body to place on a future agenda a vote to call for the resignation of Hector Gastelum from the Otay Water District Board of Directors.
It is time to move forward. And our progress requires his immediate departure. And your support will help make this possible.
Again, thank you Mayor Salas and members of this incredible council for allowing me to speak on this issue.