HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Several Sugar Land families say they're stunned and upset with how city council member and mayoral candidate Dwight Boykins addressed a room of teenagers Friday, even starting a hashtag #BoycottBoykins.
ABC13 Eyewitness News spoke with several teenagers who were attendees of a five-day Youth Advocacy Summit organized by OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates and Mi Familia Vota.
The night was billed as a meet and greet conversation for area youth to hear from Boykins.
"Initially, we were really excited because we didn't know much about this mayoral candidate," said 17-year-old Hajra Alvi.
But Hajra and her friends say the question-answer session with Boykins went south very quickly.
"He was telling us we should keep our legs closed, that we shouldn't taint ourselves," said 16-year-old Khloe. "In a way, saying that we should stay pure because otherwise, in the future, other men won't want us."
The attendees say Boykins grabbed another teen girl from the audience to demonstrate a relationship.
"He made a young man stand up and he was holding another girl side by side and he was like, 'If me and her were to do something, that young man wouldn't want you in the future,' and that really shows that he is invalidating young girls and not putting a good message across to the youth of America," said Khloe.
"I was actually sitting like right across from her so I could see her expression perfectly and I could see her looking at everyone else and sort of mouthing, 'I want to leave'," said Hajra.
The two organizations who held the Youth Advocacy Summit released a statement Saturday:
OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates and Mi Familia Vota place the safety and respect of students as our first priority. Yesterday, June 28, 2019, Houston City Council Member Dwight Boykins was invited to respond to questions regarding issues important to the students at our high school Youth Advocacy Summit. To our great concern and disappointment, Boykins diverged from the program purpose and instead made statements and engaged in conduct that was wholly unacceptable.
After an initial investigation, we took immediate action of notifying the appropriate authorities. Our organizations have pledged full and open cooperation with the authorities. In addition, we have notified and had discussions with parents and guardians of the students and will continue to communicate with them as circumstances dictate.
We do not and will not tolerate inappropriate behavior at our events regardless of whom the perpetrator might be. The safety and well-being of our young advocates are our paramount concern.
We fully support and are proud of these brave youth advocates who recognized the behavior was unacceptable and are speaking out about it. These young people are an outstanding example of leadership, mutual support, and advocacy in action.
Boykins apologized through a statement on Facebook:
Over the course of my career, I have always been plain-spoken and have always spoke from my heart, especially where it involves laying a positive path forward for our youth. That was my sole objective recently when I was asked to speak to a group of students about their future hopes and dreams. During the discussion, I shared my perspective on life and the importance of staying focused while avoiding some of the pitfalls that far too often plague many of our youth, a message I have delivered to groups around the city. My words were met to inspire and I deeply regret the extent to which they caused anyone hurt or discomfort. That was never my intention, and to anyone who may have taken offense by what I said, I apologize.
"We feel like it's too little too late, because when we were there," said Khloe. "His quote on quote 'apologies' almost seemed like damage control and mansplaining. He didn't so much as apologize as tell us how important his future was to him."
Follow Shelley Childers on Facebook and Twitter.
Mayoral Candidate Dwight Boykins makes group of teenagers feel uncomfortable