The arrest of Akile Anai

Dear Editor,

We all know her name. She is the courageous woman who, at the mere age of 20, initiated an against-the-grain electoral campaign for District Six City Councilwoman with the bold slogan: “Radical Times, Radical Solutions!”

She was labeled as the “Uhuru Candidate” based on her membership with the African People’s Socialist Party, as well as the endorsement from world leader Chairman Omali Yeshitela.

It was an intense campaign that confronted the status quo and its puppets, such as Rick Baker and current Mayor Rick Kriseman, with a dynamic platform that wasn’t afraid to talk about the black community, and specifically the oppression of the black community.

Perhaps another taboo for local elections was this campaign’s bold called for reparations to the black community as well as genuine economic development, an end to gentrification, Black Community Control of the Police, and other progressive platform points that defeated the big money agendas of Baker and Kriseman alike, winning hundreds of people throughout the city of St. Pete to the call for “Unity Through Reparations.”

Despite not winning the bourgeois elections, she along with her running mate, Jesse Nevel, formed the grassroots organization Communities United for Reparations and Economic Development or CURED, to continue furthering their platform.

This woman is Akile Anai, formerly known as Eritha “Akile” Cainion, and because of this bold stance, she was brutalized and arrested outside her home on Dec. 20, 2017.

For defending a black woman who was being harassed by a corner store petty merchant, Akile as well as two of her other comrades were arrested and booked with petty charges such as disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence.

Akile was walking towards her house, on the phone with her father, when an officer demanded her arrest. Three cops chased her down, pushed and grabbed her hair, and slammed her face on the hood of the car.

Once she was stuffed in the backseat, one of the officers looked her in the eyes and said, “you ran for city council, didn’t you?”

She is now being tried on those charges and threatened with two years in the county jail.

This is absolutely absurd and cannot happen. The police, under the administration of the clearly intimidated Mayor Rick Kriseman, does not get to attack the black community and assault one of its leaders.

When no one else was willing, Akile, under the leadership of the Uhuru Movement electoral campaigns, raised the demand for Black Community Control of the Police to prevent situations like these, where the police come into our communities, harass and brutalize our people with impunity, and contain our community, as they did for the Martin Luther King Jr. parade and festivities this past January.

This is why we must defend Akile and demand that Rick Kriseman take his hands off the black community! This isn’t just a personal attack.

This is an obvious political assault and Akile is being made an example out of for others in our community who take the courageous stance to push back the status quo, in the interests of our people and the entire city overall!

First this city government steals an election with big money, they steal our community through gentrification, they rob our community of any forms of economic development, and now they are attempting to steal one of the black community’s most courageous and admired leaders.

Akile’s court date is set for March 5th, at 1:30 PM and we’re calling on all those who are outraged by this, who stand in support and solidarity with the black community to pack the courthouse!

Pinellas County Justice Center, 14520 49th St N, Clearwater, FL 33762

#DropTheCharges #HandsOffAkile #HandsOffTheBlackCommunity

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