Sophia Cainion wins Marcus Garvey Youth Program’s annual essay contest

In February of this year, the All African People’s Development & Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) organized its Second Annual Black History Month Essay Contest.

The contest, a project of AAPDEP’s Marcus Garvey Youth Program, received entries from African children ages 9-13 from various parts of the African world, including Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal and the United States.

Participants were asked to answer the question, “Who is your favorite African Revolutionary and why?

This year’s winner was 11-year-old Sophia Cainion of Newport Richie, Florida whose favorite revolutionary was none other than the Burning Spear’s very own Editor-in-Chief Akile Anai.

For more information about AAPDEP’s Marcus Garvey Youth Program, email

Here is Sophia’s winning essay:

In October 1996, a natural born leader was established.

Eritha “Akilé” Cainion has always been a special person.

I was told when she was my age, she was very outgoing with a creative mind. 

She was a critical thinker and organically excelled in everything she touched.

Akilé is fierce competitor, courageous, fights hard to bring change in the black community, and she also happens to be my sister.

I will detail what she does, explain how she inspires me, and why she is my favorite African leader.   

Akilé has been a political leader since graduating high school in 2015. Most kids coming out of high school have no idea what they want to do.

Many change their careers several times before sticking to something.

With everything going on in the world, it amazes me how easy a plan came to her.

She set a goal, worked smart at it, and made things happen.

That alone should inspire everyone but is definitely what inspired me. She set the bar for our family by graduating college and showing all of us that fighting for our rights is necessary for our survival.

Akilé is the Editor-in-Chief for The Burning Spear newspaper and political leader for the APSP’s radio and internet media outlets.

She was the first candidate in known history to run on a reparation’s platform in the U.S.

Akilé ran for City Council in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 2017 and 2019, and was profiled by Ebony Magazine as a “Millennial of Change.”

My sister is also the national Director of Agitation and Propaganda.

She is 24 years old, making her the youngest to ever sit on the APSP’s National Central Committee. 

This is amazing to me and proves again that black women are capable of so much more than given credit for. 

We need to stop saying that black women need to work harder to make a name for ourselves. 

As you can see in my sister’s case, working smarter is all that we’ve ever needed to do. 

She represents a positive image for women of color. 

She is intelligent beyond her years and nothing like the women being idolized on social media.

She’s trying to make a change for our people and despite the many obstacles that have stood in her way, she keeps going. 

It’s that determination that I see and hope I can duplicate. 

She’s already a published author, poet, writer, & singer and she’s only 24!

I feel like I can do anything I set my mind to and can’t wait to see what my future holds with her guidance. 

I love to read and write and hope to have a book of my own published soon. 

I want to help our community like she does and strive to continue to be fierce and strong and smart.

I will be forever grateful for her guidance. One thing I have learned from my sister is that a wise girl knows her limits, but a smart girl knows she has none.


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