In just a matter of days, voters will flood the polls for the most pivotal election in the history of St. Petersburg.
Aug. 29 will be written in the pages of time as the moment when finally, after generations of struggle, the people won.
We took back our city. We kicked out the parasites from city hall. We crushed these criminals in three-piece suits who bulldozed over human lives to make a profit for themselves.
We invaded the fake, rigged democracy normally reserved for haughty real estate tycoons who engorge themselves by gentrifying impoverished black communities to death.
Aug. 29 will be remembered as the first day of an uprising, the rise of an organized resistance of the people’s movement in neighborhoods throughout our city. We struck a mortal blow to the high-rise condo empire that threatened to revert our cherished waterfront into a private luxury of the millionaire elite.
It will be the day when the Billionaires’ Picks, Big Rick and Little Rick, hung their heads in shame after a low-budget people’s campaign, derided and slandered by the bourgeois press, delivered a crushing and shocking defeat to the thuggish ruling class.
Ah, they thought they could buy this election. WRONG!
Thousands of us — young, old, black, white, Latino, indigenous, disabled, millennials, men, women, LGBTQ, veterans — rose up, fought back, united and won.
The two Ricks, fools they are, stepped into the ring against two “Uhuru candidates” who represent the righteous fury of the people, but more importantly, the hope.
We are the ones with the hopeful vision of a united and peaceful city, starting with reparations and justice for the black community.
We are the resistance. We are the future. We are the ones who can see a better tomorrow. We are the ones who refuse to accept that we have to settle for the lesser of two evils, over and over again.
We, the people, are going to bring real, practical solutions to City Hall.
We are going to turn the people’s budget right side up. Stop wasting millions on police when people are starving. Slash the police budget and put that money towards economic development on the south side. That is genuine public safety. Cease and desist on that wasteful 85 million dollar fund for the new police station and reallocate those resources towards a 16th Street Black Business Redevelopment Plan.
We will tackle the sewage infrastructure. Let’s reopen that Albert Whitted plant. Let’s give power to the workers in the Water Resources department, the unsung heroes of our city. They’re the ones who tried to stop the Kriseman administration from pouring fecal matter all over St. Petersburg and they were abused and ignored, threatened, silenced. Not under my watch! Worker’s power makes sense, right? $15/hour minimum wage is just the beginning.
Let’s get real about the education system. The real “Failure Factory” is the Pinellas County School board. I am not going to place the blame on innocent black children who go to school thinking they’re going to get an education and end up being treated like prisoners! I’m the only candidate in the mayor’s race who wants to get these cops off these school campuses.
Children must be treated with respect. I support black community control of schools in their communities. That means I will put funds towards the creation of black community controlled provisional educational institutions and programs. Until we can take over the school board, we need to make things happen right here in our city. And we can do it!
Let’s build affordable housing. I’m ready to swing a wrecking ball into the Tropicana Field baseball stadium on day one of my first term as mayor. Let’s get that eyesore out of the way so we can turn that 85 acres of land back over to the black community who will make it bloom with economics, black businesses and affordable housing!
That’s a common sense solution that will relieve pressure from the entire housing market for our city. It’s also an act of reparations for a crime that was committed when that stadium displaced the oldest black neighborhood in the city back in the late 1980s. That was wrong and it needs to be made right. That’s the leadership style you can expect from us: taking responsibility.
Let’s face the past, so we can build the future. St. Pete in past tense is a bloody story of lynching, gentrification, police brutality, poverty, Jim Crow, segregation, green benches and hopelessness. It’s the past that created the present day divisions we experience, the consequence of centuries of oppression and injustice. That’s why we have a cityscape of boarded-up homes, hungry children, fear of police terror, and homeless people sleeping on cardboard boxes, holding out cups of change in desperation.
That’s the real St. Pete they want us to pretend doesn’t exist while they drone on about building a new Pier on a lake of sewage or begging the Rays to stay in our city so they can keep losing games in front of a nearly empty, cockroach-infested stadium.
We cannot leave these problems to the next generation. We can make St. Pete the most progressive city on the planet. It starts with justice. Justice begins with reparations. Reparations is the road to unity. We can finally unite our city.
When all hope seems to be lost, the light of resistance continues to burn. As a great leader once said, “When we dare to struggle, we dare to win.”
Akile Cainion for District 6 City Council is the hope.
The people’s movement is the hope.
Aug. 29 is the hope.
Unity Through Reparations to African People.
We can win.
We will win.
We are winning.
Vote Jesse Nevel for mayor of St. Petersburg