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Cainion and Nevel are in it to win it, for the people
ST. PETERSBURG — On the steps of City Hall, Eritha Akile Cainion and Jesse Nevel announced that they are signed, sealed and delivered to be on the ballot for the District 6 and mayoral race.
Both candidates were accompanied by a large group of more 100 excited, diverse and mostly young volunteers.
“My name is Eritha Akile Cainion and with this people’s movement I will be your next District 6 city council woman,” she said, opening the press conference.
Her platform is bold and radical, hence her slogan “Radical Times, Radical Solutions!” Cainion wants Black Community Control of the police to end police terrorism of the black community and Black Community Control of schools to end the school-to-prison pipeline.
She’s demanding that the land Tropicana Field stadium sits on be given back to the black community for affordable housing for the city’s most at-risk citizens.
Cainion said that all the other candidates for District 6 represent the interests of big pocket developers and not the people.
“The people of this city don’t want to live in a divided city. The people of this city are uniting with reparations to the black community because unity can only be accomplished by recognizing the social and economic injustices faced historically and today by the black community,” averred Cainion.
Mayoral candidate Nevel came right after and proclaimed, “This election is not Rick versus Rick! This is the people versus the Ricks!”
Nevel covered a long list of stats laying out that both Mayor Kriseman and Former Mayor Rick Baker are for gentrification, big money developers, police violence, mistreatment of workers and the exploitation of workers.
“You got Baker, the tent slasher, who sadistically ordered the police to slash the tents of the homeless while they slept at night,” he said.
Nevel continued to point out what part Kriseman played in the leaking of 256,000,000 gallons of untreated sewage into the black community and the Tampa Bay. Jesse Nevel’s platform is centered on reparations to the black community much like his activist work. He also wants to end corruption and build community involvement in all city government decision-making while reclaiming the city for the neighborhoods, not the corporations and real estate speculators.
The candidates were joined by several endorsers who gave impassioned statements in support of the growing People’s Movement.
Rev. Mark Green of the Travelers Rest Baptist Church said that it is time to try something different that speaks to the interests of the people. “And that means voting for Akile and Jesse.”
Rose Roby, the co-chair of the Pinellas County Green Party, announced the Green Party’s endorsement of the two candidates. Roby explained that by uniting with this campaign, the Green Party is stepping forward not simply as an environmentalist party but as a “party.”
One of the highlights of the press conference was a presentation given by two young black Gibbs High School students, Iniko and Hekima, who have been working on the campaigns and expressed their support to see a positive future represented by the platforms of Cainion and Nevel.
“These candidates are necessary,” said Hekima.
Sheridan Murphy, a noted indigenous activist, announced his endorsement, and urged white voters not to fear the word “reparations” because “it’s another word for justice!”
Muteba Tshinabu wa Munda, an Uhuru Movement organizer, spoke on why she as a black LGBTQ person is endorsing Cainion and Nevel.
Contrasting their platforms to the “toothless initiatives” of Kriseman, Muteba said that the success of their campaigns “requires the acquisition of actual political power in the hands of the most underserved people of St. Petersburg. Not some mythical sanctuary city or simply State controlled social services. But actual power in the hands of the people ourselves.”
Both candidates were in unison that they are not worried about going up against politicians who are financially backed by millionaires. They say they have the power of the people and that is what will win them the election.
This vigor and passion comes from the fact that they have built a huge local social movement that has gotten them around 2,000 signatures and hundreds of volunteers in a matter of weeks!
The typhoon of support doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. Both their social media platforms continue to gain momentum and support.
These two youthful and dynamic activists have brought life and shaken up an otherwise boring campaign of the same old status quo St. Petersburg elections.
About the candidates
Eritha Akile Cainion is a 20-year-old south St. Petersburg native who has a long history of activism. She is currently the chair of the Committee for Justice for the Three Drowned Black Girls to fight for justice for Laniya Miller, Ashaunti Butler and Dominique Battle.
Jesse Nevel is also a long-time local activist who has fought against the gentrification of the south side, against the mass incarceration of the black community and for reparations to the black community for stolen labor through slavery.
Both candidates’ political activism comes through their involvement from working with the Uhuru Movement led by Chairman Omali Yeshitela.