Eritha Akile Cainion held a press conference May 8 announcing her candidacy for District 7 City Council.
My name is Eritha Akile Cainion, and I am running to be your next District 7 City Councilwoman.
This decision comes naturally, following the dynamic local elections of 2017, where at just 20 years old, I ran for city council alongside my former running mate, Jesse Nevel, on a platform of reparations to the black community as the starting point of a genuinely progressive agenda.
Despite reparations being regarded as “fringe” politic, our campaigns shook the grounds of St. Petersburg.
We won hundreds of people in this city to the side of reparations to the black community and built a social movement to transform the way this city operates.
This campaign made international news, garnered nationwide support, and was the first ever reparations electoral campaign this world has ever seen.
Now there are Democratic Party 2020 presidential hopefuls who have come out in support of what they consider reparations, as a consequence of what we did two years ago!
This is part of the basis for entering these elections now. Reparations is a defining question throughout this country.
We have the ability to make reparations real. We can make history by electing this country’s first reparations candidates!
Two years ago, our demand for reparations was introduced as a means to stop the genocidal gentrification of the black community.
We went up against big money backed politicians — the crooks like the so-called progressive Rick Kriseman and the big developers in his pocket.
Two years ago, we raised the question, “will there be a black community in the next two years at the rate that this government, under Rick Kriseman, is gentrifying this community?”
And now we’re confronted with this government attempting to steal yet another historical African community for more high rises and condos. That community is Jordan Park.
That should answer your question.
This is round two.
This is our opportunity to successfully take back the black community and restore what has been robbed from it historically and presently – like the gas plant district, where the Tropicana Field baseball stadium sits. We are demanding that that land be returned to the black community as reparations, to build affordable housing and economic development.
We will implement a public policy of economic development versus the existing system of police containment of the black community.
We are fighting for black community control of the police, the right of the black community to hire, fire, train and discipline the police in our community.
Reparations will be made the center of this city’s budget, creating a mass infusion of capital into the black community for new and existing black businesses.
We are going to fight for the residents of Jordan Park and demand “hands off” of this land that Elder Jordan got for the black community.
We are going to fight to end this anti-black, undemocratic rigged election system of a primary and general election so that more black workers can run for office on a platform that speaks to our interests without fear of our vote being vetoed by the overwhelmingly white population.
With these plans, we can expect gentrification to come to a screeching halt in this city, and for the black community to increase its population!
We will have a bustling black community, with vibrant culture, food, music, art, political life, and more once the resources free us up to build our community.
For those who are not familiar with this history or these previous campaigns, I want to remind you all of who I am and what makes me qualified to be your city councilwoman.
I was born and raised here in this city, some of the parts I grew up in have been completely changed through gentrification, police containment, and theft of economic development.
I have been actively fighting for this community since the moment I graduated high school, joining the Uhuru Movement at 18, leading a national campaign for justice for three teenage black girls drowned by the Pinellas county sheriff’s department, running for office at 20 years old, editing the Uhuru Movement’s newspaper The Burning Spear and sitting on the National Central Committee of the African People’s Socialist Party as the youngest member.
I’m highly qualified in the area of social justice and reparations, having received direct leadership from a St. Pete African community hero: Chairman Omali Yeshitela.
It’s time to face the reality that is St. Pete. Not this painting of progress for all represented in the ever-expanding downtown — it is a nightmare. A city divided and the black community is under assault.
This is why we have to run. I say we because it’s not just me fighting for this future.
It’s all of us. It’s you.
We have to be bold in our demand, uncompromising when we say “Make the Southside Black Again.” It’s one we should all be able to say because it starts here.
It starts by ending the oppression of the black community, creating the conditions for a prosperous city, no one living at the expense of anybody else.
I look forward to embarking on this journey with all who support my community and our right to economic development. Support the vision of the future with the black community in it.
My name is Eritha Akile Cainion, and with your support, we can end gentrification, we can make the southside black again, and we can create a genuinely progressive city.
Aug. 27 is the Primary Election. Vote Eritha Akile Cainion for District 7.
To join and support this campaign, visit voteakile.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 727- 280- 6387