As Election Day fast approaches, next Tuesday in fact, the people’s movement to elect myself, Eritha ‘Akile’ Cainion for District 6 City Council and Jesse Nevel for Mayor have defined this period as the championship round.
This term gets its inspiration from the famous boxing match between the great Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in the Congo in 1974. It was a fight that Ali was supposed to lose. He had been suspended from boxing after coming out against the U.S. imperialist wars on Vietnam, which meant he had to train harder to go up against America’s greatest, most patriotic boxer, the supposedly invincible Foreman.
Ali wasn’t supposed to stand a chance. He wasn’t supposed to be a contender. That was supposed to be the case when Jesse and I first filed to run for our respective offices in mid-March.
We were supposedly just protest campaigns. The status quo worked hard to convince the masses that we didn’t actually have a chance at winning this election.
Flash back to the last 15 seconds of the Ali vs. Foreman match, eight rounds in, and Ali shocks the world with a total knockout.
That was the championship round then, these final days before the election is our round now.
From the moment we entered, a 20-year-old black woman in the south on a platform of reparations for the black community alongside a 27-year-old white Jewish man under the leadership of the black working class on the same platform, we posed a threat to the boring decorum of electoral politics.
What the status quo had perceived to be another election as usual – an election between the evil of two lessers – this illusion was shattered when our candidacies emerged and we brought the genuine interests of the people and the voice of the black working class to the mainstream.
Every forum, every debate (that we were invited to), it was our campaigns that raised the critical question of the oppression of the black community. While all of our other opponents have pandered to, out right lied to or even attacked the black community, we have been the only candidates in favor of true progress, starting with our platform framed around justice to the black community.
And it was these platforms that brought out the black working class to raise their questions and concerns around police occupation, poverty, homelessness, the education system, gentrification and more.
Our campaigns gained tremendous momentum and support despite the corporate media working in favor of big money slandering our candidacies, our Uhuru Movement affiliation and lack of coverage overall.
We have spent the last six months knocking on roughly 35,000 doors, talking to different sectors of people in this city and gaining overwhelming unity for reparations to the black community.
Every Sunday Jesse and I have attended public rallies in the community hosted by the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement where dozens of people from this city have come out to participate and sign up to volunteer for this campaign.
This movement also has an amazing voter contact team who has made calls to over 10,000 people letting them know about these historic campaigns.
And because of this movement, we were able to get our television advertisement running on several different channels.
All of this has been our work in building a people’s movement, organizing and executing the get out to vote as well as getting the word out there about our candidacies.
But the work doesn’t stop there. Aside from the massive outreach and the weekly rallies, this campaign held town hall meetings in regards to the sewage scandal of 2016, the question of reparations to the black community, and gentrification and how it’s affecting the south side.
We participated in the Tampa Bay Emergency Anti-War Coalition where we stood with the people of this city in opposition to the war on Syria. We held a rally for Racial Justice and Reparations on July 25 (during the Jim Crow Palladium theater debate) in Williams Park in response to mayoral candidate Paul Congemi’s racist remarks during a previous debate at city hall.
And most recently, a crowd of over 200 marched from city hall to the police station chanting “unity through reparations” and “black community control of the police” in genuine opposition to the white nationalist attacks in Charlottesville, Va.
We were also the only campaigns who raised up black working class mothers like Kunde Mwamvita, mother of Dominique Battle, one of the three teen girls killed by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department last year. We came out in defense of Dejarae Thomas, Keontae Brown, and Jimmie Goshey, three teenage black boys chased to their deaths by sheriff’s deputies on Aug. 6.
We have been the only candidates to defend black children when the rest of the ruling class and its petty bourgeois henchmen like Maria Scruggs come out to attack them.
And now, as a result of this movement, a new organization titled Communities United for Reparations and Economic Development (CURED) was born to not only ensure a win for Jesse and I, but to put in place an organization that will continue to carry out the work of bringing the people into the political process and holding our platforms accountable to us as candidates.
The work up to now has been one uppercut and jab after another, and come Aug. 29, the status quo will receive the final blow.
Just as the victory of Muhammad Ali in 1974 spelled a win for the black working class, the victory of Jesse Nevel for Mayor and myself for District 6 City Council will ring victory to the black community and the people of this city.
It has been the people up to this point that has forwarded the work of these campaigns. From phone calls to door knocks, to early morning sign spins, the most vibrant, enthusiastic, youthful people have taken charge and have lead us to this point today.
We are the ones securing a bright future, a new beginning for the city of St. Pete starting with justice in the form of reparations to the black community, the most just progressive demand to be made and won in history!
So as Ali, with the same cynicism around his ability to win, where the media machines and its system tried to convince the people that he had no chance, Jesse, myself, and the people of this city will prove them wrong with a win in the primary.
The era of big money corruption and oppression has come to an end.
The championship round is our chance to ensure that.
Vote Eritha ‘Akile’ Cainion for District 6 City Council and Jesse Nevel for Mayor on Aug. 29.
Eritha ‘Akile’ Cainion