Unity Through Reparations: the people of St. Petersburg have won!
Statement from Akilé Anai on the unprecedented dual campaign for “Unity Through Reparations” in St. Petersburg, Florida. Akilé ran for District 6 City Council alongside Jesse Nevel, who ran for Mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida.
We Have Won: The People’s Movement Has Just Begun
On March 9th, 2017 I stood in front of an abandoned Walmart in southside St. Petersburg, Florida announcing my entrance into the District Six City Council race.
This abandoned building a testament to the poverty, the failed policies of police containment versus policies of economic development, gentrification, and the overall oppression of the black community.
It was a beacon of big moneyed interests failing the black community.
These were the reasons why on March 9th I filed to run for city council and just a few days later Jesse Nevel entered the mayoral election.
We entered this race to take the covers off of a corrupt city government and expose the social system for what it truly is.
We ran in this race to ensure a future for black children through Black Community Control of Schools and Black Community Control of the Police.
And we sought to unite this city around a genuinely progressive agenda based on reparations to the black community, to right the wrongs of the past and bring us to a future where no one lives at anybody else’s expense.
In fighting to achieve this platform deemed radical by the status quo, it was always clear that we had to prepare to go up against an entire machine, rigged against the people, filled with big money corruption. We were going up against a gerrymandered district 6, spearheaded by Karl Nurse, making District Six and the fate of the black community left to mainly 4 white precincts, encompassing mainly the white ruling class.
This is a clear indication that the results of August 29th do not speak for the hard work of this campaign.
We worked harder than any campaign. With little money, limited access to media, slander campaigns waged against us, the theft of our signs, a rigged electoral process, no name recognition, being locked out of debates, despite that reality, 2,000 people signed a petition to get Jesse’s name on the ballot, this people’s movement knocked on 25,000 doors, called 12,000 people in one month alone, raised enough resources to get our TV ad, and won hundreds of people to reparations to the black community.
Out of this campaign, a lasting organization has emerged: Communities United for Reparations and Economic Development or CURED.
That’s why, despite those numbers, we have won. We are the true victors. This wasn’t about securing a career for individuals. This wasn’t about money. In fact, this wasn’t something that would end after the elections.
The demands of the black working class still stand. The demands of communities united for reparations and economic development are still in place.
Black children are still being attacked in schools.
The police still occupy the black community.
My community is still vulnerable and being preyed upon by wealthy land developers.
We are still homeless, impoverished, brutalized, divided, and dominated by big money.
Meanwhile two millionaire gentrifiers, thrown in front of us by the parties of tradition, the Democrats and the Republicans, are vying for both District Six and the mayoral seat.
So while big money thinks that they have it in the bag, they’re sadly mistaken.
The work that we have done, the platforms we have presented, the decorum we have shattered, has shaken up the political atmosphere. It has disrupted business as usual.
There’s a growing people’s movement, there’s CURED, and there’s the battle between the past and the future and the future will win.
It has won.
No matter who occupies that seat, we the people, united through justice to the black community, united through reparations, ready for radical solutions for these radical times, have the responsibility to win this platform!
The elections don’t determine that for us.
It is the optimistic vision of the land under Tropicana Field being returned to the black community, the vision of an economically thriving black community, black community control of our schools, social and economic power in the hands of the black working class, and a united city that has reclaimed the word progressive from crooks like Kriseman, that will set that determination.
So thank you, to all of our supporters, the voters, the donors, everyone who participated in this historic election. Thank you for standing on the right side of history. Thank you for uniting with the struggles of the black working class.
And just know that we haven’t lost a damn thing. In fact, we have only just begun.
Radical Times, Radical Solutions.
Unity Through Reparations.
Statement from Jesse Nevel, Akilé Anai’s running mate, who ran for Mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida:
On the day after the St. Petersburg primary election, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and love for the people.
Thank you. Thank you to everyone who voted for Akile and me on August 29th, thank you to all of our hundreds of volunteers and donors, thank you to our thousands of supporters throughout St. Pete, St. Pete Beach, Gulfport, Tampa, Clearwater, and throughout the United States.
Thank you to the incredible and courageous Akilé Anai, known for the ballot’s sake as Eritha Akile Cainion, whose profound leadership has given hope to thousands of people.
Akilé has inspired so many, not only in the black community but also among white people who have felt inspired to take a stand on the side of genuine progress, peace and social justice. She is the real legitimate progressive leader of District 6, undisputed and unbeaten.
Thank you to all of the amazing people who comprise this movement. It is because of you, and your unstoppable determination to continue fighting, that I can declare: we didn’t lose a damn thing.
We are winning.
Unlike our opponents– the big moneyed enemies of humanity, Kriseman and Baker, and the seven gentrifiers who clawed at the District 6 seat– this campaign was never just about getting someone a job in City Council or the mayor’s office.
For us, the campaign was always, and continues to be, about winning the goals of our platform: unity through reparations and economic development for the black community. Period.
Until those goals are achieved, the campaign is not over.
Until the Tropicana Field land is returned to the black community to build economic development and affordable housing, the campaign is not over.
Until big money corrupt politicians are driven out of city hall by the people’s movement and power is in the hands of the people, the campaign is not over.
Until the sheriff’s department is expelled from St. Pete city limits and until black community control of the police is won, the campaign is not over.
Until there are workers councils established that exert power over the functioning of city government, the campaign is not over.
Until gentrification is brought to a screeching halt and affordable housing becomes a priority so that no person is pushed out of their community, the campaign is not over.
Until every child is guaranteed a relevant and quality education and until the police are removed from school campuses where they currently abuse and harass black children on a regular basis, the campaign is not over.
Until justice is served for Kunde Mwamvita and the other families of black teens murdered by the sheriff’s department and St. Pete police, the campaign is not over.
Unity through reparations is a hopeful, beautiful and optimistic vision of a city where justice and prosperity for all of its residents can serve as a beacon to cities everywhere.
It is, and continues to be, a vision that has ignited the deepest passion of thousands of people throughout the country from all ages, backgrounds and nationalities.
Our optimism is undaunted.
We see a better tomorrow. We see a future where we, the people of St. Petersburg, can finally look at each other in the eyes as human beings and not as haves and have-nots, gentrifiers and gentrified, oppressor and oppressed.
This is the vision of the future that has been unleashed by the movement for unity through reparations. Because of you, a political Pandora’s Box has been opened up and it can never be undone.
Together, we will continue to fight, and we will win.
And as for the nagging question from clueless journalists about whether I will endorse one of the Ricks in the general election and encourage my voters and supporters to cast their ballots accordingly, I am confident that our supporters already know the answer to that question.
The status quo is still the enemy it was before yesterday. We are not going to surrender. This is just the beginning. It is the first shot fired in a battle for the future of our city.
To all of my supporters and voters, again: thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I have such profound respect and appreciation for the people, so many people who are ready to fight back and make our city a genuinely progressive place.
This is far from over. It has only just begun. Let’s keep going. We urge everyone to join the Communities United for Reparations and Economic Development and start building in your precinct.
Now is our time to build a people’s organization of such magnitude, strength and scope that it will ultimately overpower the moneyed political machines of our corrupt and bloodthirsty enemies.
Unlike them, we are not fueled by dirty big developer cash and backdoor deals with shady financiers. We are fueled by something deeper and stronger, something which no sum of money can buy: the power of the people.
All power to the people.
Unity through reparations.
St. Petersburg, FL — Eritha Akile Cainion and Jesse Nevel for Mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida held a press conference on August 31, 2017 to discuss how they will be moving forward with their people’s movement.
View video from Facebook HERE.