The weeks are narrowing down to the primary election in St. Petersburg and compared to previous elections, the eyes of many are watching the city council and mayoral elections.
This is undoubtedly because of the candidacies of myself, Eritha ‘Akile’ Cainion for District 6 City Council and Jesse Nevel for Mayor. Since entering this race we have been the most talked about candidates. Whether positive or slanderous, the corporate media and the rest of this city have been forced to acknowledge us as real contenders against the status quo.
With this acknowledgment comes the system’s many attempts to undermine our campaigns, including the tired usage of the “Uhuru candidate” label.
And among those undermining criticisms is one I find extremely interesting: how can a white man be trusted with a pro-black platform?
I find this question interesting because it’s one that the other white mayoral candidates don’t come under fire for. Rick Baker, Rick Kriseman and even Paul Congemi are white men running for mayor. Both of the Ricks have been mayor at one point in time.
But suddenly a white man is being criticized for running for mayor when he’s the only mayoral candidate talking about reparations to the black community.
This question to me is simply one that serves to attack Jesse, myself and our revolutionary platforms.
Because no one else is asking the same things from Baker or Kriseman.
How can Jesse expect the black vote when he’s not black?
How can either of the Ricks expect the black vote then?
These types of questions are raised by those who could care less about the black community. They’re raised by those who are willing to sell out our community for their own individual interests, interests that the status quo is feeding.
They are questions that arise from the petty bourgeois in a desperate attempt to invalidate Jesse’s campaign when nothing else is working.
But let’s say this question is genuine.
Let’s say people are truly invested in learning why Jesse has to be mayor despite the fact that he’s not black.
Well, let’s talk about white solidarity with black power.
Jesse Nevel is a 27-year-old white man, chair of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, an organization that was founded by the black working class led Uhuru Movement, by Chairman Omali Yeshitela.
It is this organization, under the leadership of the black poor working class, that has the mandate to organize other white people to the struggle for black power and for reparations to African people.
He is the only mayoral candidate with the experience of reparations. He’s the only mayoral candidate that’s exposing an entire system built on slavery and genocide and connecting that to the deplorable conditions the people in this city face today.
This is something that neither the Ricks nor the other black mayoral candidates are talking about.
Aside from being an organizer, under the leadership of the black community, with a history of organizing for reparations to African people as a white Jewish person, there’s also an extremely important factor in running dual candidacies.
The city of St. Petersburg is a majority white city. In terms of statistics alone, it is tactically better to run for mayor while white.
On top of that, with these rigged elections and the false idea of a single-member district primary, each city council candidate has to win the majority of the city to vote for them come the general election.
What Jesse is doing now is not just ensuring he wins the elections, but it’s securing the victory for the black community in the form of myself for District 6 City Council.
None of these campaigns are successful without the other one. Both campaigns are led by the black community. Both campaigns are taking the closeted conversation of reparations and forcing them onto the agenda of the mainstream.
They’re mobilizing the poor and working class as well as the youth in the black community to participate in fighting for a future here in this city.
Jesse is tapping into the consciousness of those in the white community who want to be on the right side of history. Who stand on the side of reparations. Who stand in solidarity with black power and the right of black people in this city to be self-determined. And that’s a very large sector of the white community.
But in reality, this question has nothing to do with the fact that Jesse is white. It’s everything to do with what he represents. It’s a white man for reparations to the black community. For black people, what part of that is offensive and what then makes either of the Ricks more appealing?
This is why you have to support the campaigns to elect myself and Jesse Nevel.
We are the only candidates exposing the real contradiction, which is this entire system, and we’re the only ones with bold enough solutions to solve these problems.
Vote for the only mayoral candidate talking about justice and economic development to the black community. Vote for the only mayoral candidate opposed to police containment and supportive of Black Community Control of the Police.
Vote for the real progressive candidates, Jesse Nevel for mayor and Eritha ‘Akile Cainion for District 6, on Aug. 29, or even by mail-in ballots.
We the people won’t let questions and attempts like this stand in the way of our future.