St. Petersburg, Florida—The St. Pete local elections continue to be the focal point of many conversations held by residents, mainly because of the two candidates the Uhuru Movement has put forward: 20-year-old Eritha “Akilé” Cainion, who is running for District 6 City Council on a platform titled “Radical Times, Radical Solutions;” and 27-year-old mayoral candidate, Jesse Nevel, whose platform demands “Unity Through Reparations.”
These two candidates have been the driving force behind many of the critical points being addressed, such as reparations and economic development for the African (black) community, gentrification, Black Community Control of the Schools and Black Community Control of the Police.
Cainion and Nevel have also been the only two candidates with genuine supporters who come out to every debate and forum. The same happened last night, when members of the “Jesse Troops” lined up on the steps of City Hall before the debate and filled the room once the doors were opened.
Similar to the District 6 City Council forum that was held just the night before, this forum was sponsored by the Women’s League of Voters but hosted by Judith Anne. The mayoral candidates were former mayor Rick Baker, Anthony Cates, Paul Congemi, current mayor Rick Kriseman, Theresa Lassiter and Jesse Nevel. The room was filled with applause once Jesse’s name was announced.
Applause is the sound of democracy.
The candidates were not given an opportunity to present themselves, a move used to keep the focus on the “big name” candidates, which are Rick Kriseman and Rick Baker.
So instead of answering the first question, Nevel used the time to introduce himself, his platform and defend his supporters who have been receiving flack for clapping too loud.
“We have nothing to apologize for. We should not fear the sound of democracy and those of you who are here today to support Kriseman and Baker, by all means, I will not be offended if you applaud for your candidates. Clap, scream, stomp, cheer for Kriseman and Baker, if you are here to support them. I will not be offended; you should not be offended by the sound of democracy.”
As he said this, the Jesse Troops silently raised their fists in the air. They continued to do this throughout the night and applauded whenever he spoke last, as the rules allowed them to do so. The other candidates either received silence or sneers to their responses, as no one was there to cheer for them.
Reparations and economic development for the black community is Public Safety
The hour-long forum revealed that the other candidates were nothing but lying, capitalist tools for white power imperialism. Jesse was the only one to have real solutions for the conditions faced by Africans in St. Pete, which are also reflected in the rest of the world.
When asked what they would do about the crime in St. Pete, Baker said that “public safety is the number one thing,” and that well trained police will help decrease the drug trade and auto theft in the city.
Cates, an African man, said that the high levels of crime in the African community is due to the chemicals that are in the water we’re drinking and how they affect our brains and cause impulsiveness.
A nonsensical response that completely removes the onus from our colonizers who force African people to live in overcrowded communities with the drug and illegal economy being the only forms of economic development or survival. The real crime is the conditions imposed on us.
Paul Congemi referred to himself as “the ‘Law & Order’ candidate” and bragged about donating $150,000 to the St. Pete Police Department. He further emphasized that no one has done more to support law enforcement than he has.
Kriseman made claims that violent crime has decreased by 26 percent and overall crime by 6 percent and says the solution is in “community policing,” where members of the communities would cooperate with pigs and inform them about what’s going on in the community.
Lassiter, an elderly African woman who regards herself as an activist for the past 25 years, said she would work with the police chief and begin campaigning against horizontal violence often referred to as “black on black crime.”
She did not mention anything about campaigning against the factors that led to horizontal violence, or campaigning against the police who brutalize and murder African people, because “black on black crime” is the real issue, according to her.
Jesse Nevel, was the only mayoral candidate to make clear that police containment in the black community is not public safety! “Who is to feel safe when 1/10th of a billion dollars of the city’s budget is going to the police department?” asked Nevel, “not including the $85 million being used to build a new police station across the street from the current one. That’s not public safety; I will feel safe when no one in the city is starving.” Lastly, he called out the Pinellas County’s Sheriff Department for murdering black children.
After this brilliant response, the crowd applauded and a man’s voice can be heard chanting “Unity Through!” followed by the crowd responding “Reparations!”
“Non-factor” Paul Congemi’s advice to black people: “Go back to Africa!”
The most awkward moment of the night was when Congemi tried (and failed) to get a rise out of the audience as he went on what can be characterized as a “racist rant” against the Africans in the room.
The candidates were asked what their commitment was to providing recreational activities for the youth. Nevel stated that no amount of recreational centers would heal the wounds of families who lost their children to police violence, especially those who lost them during the Baker and Kriseman administrations. Instead, his commitment is to reparations and economic development for the black community.
Congemi’s used his time to say “Mr. Nevel, you and your people, you talk about reparations. The reparations that you talk about, Mr. Nevel, your people already got your reparations. Your reparations came in the form of a man named Barack Obama.”
The audience began to react with scoffs and groans, but Congemi continued, “my advice to you, if you don’t like it here in America, planes leave every hour from Tampa Airport. Go back to Africa! Go back to Africa! Go back!”
Jesse reminded the crowd that Congemi was a “non-factor” and that the real enemies were the two Ricks. The audience followed suit and ignored Congemi’s antics.
African people are owed reparations!
For the past 10 years, Jesse Nevel has been a member of the African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC), and more recently became the Chair of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement.
This means that he works under the leadership of the poor and working class and the African People’s Socialist Party and pays reparations and organizes white people to do the same.
During this electoral race, Jesse has made known that he comes from a Jewish background and his family has received reparations.
In a past debate he’s quoted saying “Like Mr. Kriseman, I was born into a Jewish family. When we bring up reparations to the black community, there are a lot of questions that immediately come about: ‘how can this happen?’ ‘who will it go to?’ ‘how much will it be?’…nobody asked those questions when it was the Jews who received reparations for the wrongs that were committed against us during the holocaust by Nazi Germany…
“If [paying] reparations is just and right for the Jewish community, then why not for the black community. Is it because they are black?”
African people did not receive reparations in the form of Barack Obama. Reparations do not come in the form of a person and even if so, Barack Obama was a neocolonial puppet president who forwarded imperialism and the attack on Africa and African people!
Radical campaigns shake up the white ruling class!
Paul Congemi’s anti-African tirade is a reflection of the whole electoral process taking place in St. Pete, which is trying to avoid the question of reparations to the black community.
It’s clear that if it weren’t for Jesse Nevel’s “Unity Through Reparations” mayoral campaign, side-by-side with Eritha “Akile” Cainion’s “Radical Times, Radical Solutions” District 6 City Council campaign, the white ruling class would skip along comfortably through another rigged election.
It’s clear to the St. Pete officials that the people are tired of the status quo. The people are tired of simply changing from one big money politician to the next. The people want complete transformation. Jesse Nevel and Eritha “Akilé” Cainion are two candidates that are of and for the people. We are here to support them.
Make sure you are registered to vote before these important elections on August 29th (Primaries) and November 7th (General)!
We Can Win!
We Are Winning!
Vote Akilé and Jesse!