CHICAGO (CBS) — Latino lawmakers want answers.
After the head of a social service association serving Latinos allegedly makes racist remarks about the very people the associationis trying to help.
CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley found the episode could threaten the group’s mission.
“It was very hurtful to me. It was a hurtful experience,” said Aunt Martha CEO Raul Garza. He spent 25 years at Aunt Martha’s Health and Wellness which provides medical and child welfare services to low income patients.
But Garza never experienced anything like the comments from Bruce Johnson, who ran the association that represents community health providers.
“He asked me, when I travel to Mexico, does Trump let me back in the country,” said Garza.
The comments came in a June 20th meeting. And they didn’t stop there.
“Mr. Johnson assumed I lived in Little Village. And I said do you think every Mexican American who lives in Chicago lives in Little Village. I think he thought it was funny,” said Garza.
Garza was not amused. And neither are Latino lawmakers, with one promising state-level hearings.
“I think the General Assembly should hold their feet to the fire,” said 12th ward alderman George Cardenas.
“The one thing I haven’t heard, first and foremost, is an apology,” said Cook County Commissioner Jesus Chuy Garcia.
In the wake of the flap, Johnson resigned as CEO of the Illinois Primary Health Care Association. And so did the executive committee. Jordan Powell is the interim CEO.
“Those comments are unacceptable, inappropriate and they were racist,” said Powell.
He said he plans to launch an independent investigation into what happened led by a new legal team at the association.