On Monday, Nov. 8, district leaders met on Zoom to fill vacancies and to vote on three amendments regarding the direct influence of County Committee members, who are essentially hyperlocal elected officials at the bottom of the Brooklyn Democratic Party. 

The amendments, which were approved, now make it so County Committee members can no longer bring resolutions directly to the committee for a discussion and vote. Instead, resolutions will now first go through a subcommittee. Additionally, with the changes, the County Committee will now have one official meeting every two years instead of two meetings every year.

Shortly after Monday’s meeting began, Assemblymember Maritza ​​Davila, who represents Assembly District 53, which covers much of Bushwick and Williamsburg, overheard Edu Hermelyn, a district leader in Assembly District 43, which covers much of Crown Heights and Prospects Lefferts Gardens, sing a vulgar phrase in Spanish. 

“I zoomed into the meeting in my role as district leader for the 53rd Assembly District, without saying a word. And in less than 10 seconds, I was greeted by a district leader with the most derogatory, disgusting and degrading verse of a Spanish song that I can’t even repeat,” Assemblymember Davila wrote in an explanation. “I was so upset and hurt that I kept repeating ‘who said this?’ He would not say until another district leader on chat exposed Mr. Edu Hermelyn.”

According to Shaquanna Boykin, a district leader in Assembly District 57, which covers much of Fort Green and Clinton Hill, the phrase Hermelyn sang was “suck my pen*s.” 

However, according to Sabrina Lucia Rezzy, the communications director for the chairwoman of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, this was all a big translation mixup.

“Before the meeting formally started, District Leader Edu Hermelyn acknowledged talking about eggs — which is what he thought was the literal translation of the Spanish word ‘huevos’ — and it is. Unfortunately, the word has an alternate other context, which certainly was not his intention,” Rezzy explained in an email to Bushwick Daily. 

While reacting to the words, Assemblymember Davila was muted. Video is below. 

In response, District Leader Edu Hermelyn wrote: “I apologized last night for unintentionally offending members of the KCDCC executive committee prior to the start of the meeting. I misinterpreted a Spanish phrase from a song, in a cordial dialogue with a Latino friend, who is a fellow district leader, and it was overheard as participants, including Assemblymember Davila, joined the meeting.” 

Assemblymember Davila also explained that, as the meeting progressed, she was called “stupid” and “ridiculous” by Brooklyn Democratic Party Chairwoman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, who is married to District Leader Hermelyn.

The Chairwoman denies this: “This statement released by Assemblymember Davila this morning contains many inaccurate assertions, including that I personally attacked her character. As party chair, I work with Parliamentarian and Executive Committee to uphold the rules and call meetings to order . . . I respect all district leaders who are volunteering their time for the betterment of Brooklyn.”

However, Chairwoman Bichotte Hermelyn does admit to telling Assemblymember Davila that “people are tired,” in a reported effort to get the meeting back to order.

Chairwoman Bichotte Hermelyn did not remove Assemblymember Davila from the meeting, but she did remove District Leader Boykin, reportedly for tweeting during the meeting.

Following the release of Assemblymember Davila’s statement, many elected officials, including U.S. Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and Brooklyn Borough President-Elect Antonio Reynoso tweeted in support of Davila. 

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