The two Americas—the oppressors and the oppressed during the COVID-19 pandemic

St. Petersburg, FL—Last week, photos of white students carelessly partying on the beaches of Pinellas County while on spring break during the COVID-19 pandemic, hit news outlets all over the country.

On the other side of St. Petersburg, a whole different reality was playing out.

In this Florida tourist town where white people come to have fun in the sun, the two realities of America—the lives of Africans and white people, the colonized and the colonizer, are in stark contrast. 

On the white north side there are seven upscale grocery stores and a farmer’s market within a mile of each other.

African people on the south side face a well-known “food desert,” a sanitized way of saying “starvation” with no grocery stores and no money if there were.

While well-fed white people jog and workout down by the north shore, healthy, fresh food is out of reach for most African workers.

Even before the coronavirus, African people lived with the “colonialvirus”. It is colonial oppression that has created the conditions for African people to bear the brunt of the COVID-19 both medically and economically.

As of 2017, over 20,000 people living on the mostly-African south side had incomes below the poverty line.

White landlords have already overrun the African community with gentrification, buying, renovating and flipping the houses of African workers and pushing them out of the neighborhood and city.

Florida has the third highest rate of homelessness in the country behind New York and California.

As of 2018, 47 percent of the Pinellas County population is one paycheck away from homelessness.

Recently Pinellas County Transit determined that city buses would be taking on fewer passengers and limiting their stops, permitting “essential rides only.”

While most white people own cars and don’t have to worry about the unreliable St. Pete bus system, many in the African community will be unable to get to work.

For white people we just jump in the car to access the many businesses that are open as drive-through only.

Drive through is the only option for getting items from the food bank or free hand sanitizer from breweries in the area.

The two Americas exposed in St. Petersburg, FL

Even clean water is an issue in St. Petersburg due to the Kriseman mayoral administration dumping over one billion gallons of raw sewage into the water of black community residents.

The mandatory freshly washed hands are thus contaminated here, and the water remains unsafe to drink.

Most of us in the white community have the resources to stock up for months on water, food, and toilet paper at any number of stores close to our homes.

On March 26, Pinellas County issued a stay-at-home order, with the threat of a $500 fine or six days in jail for whoever is outside their home for any reason other than work, exercise, grocery shopping, or medical visits.

For us this is an annoyance. For African people this is a matter of life and death.

St. Petersburg has deployed even more police presence in the black community, coming only two months after yet another young African man, Marquis Golden, was shot and killed by police.

Today, if an African person survives a police encounter, they will likely be unable to feed their family due to the large fee, or if they cannot pay the fee, they will be forced into a crowded jail cell where COVID-19 is spreading at alarming rates.

The People’s War

The African People’s Socialist Party has built The People’s War Campaign to address the immediate threat of the coronavirus and to address the root cause of its devastation in the African community—colonialism.

The People’s War is about building political and economic power in the hands of the African working class to forever put an end to their oppression and to achieve liberation of Africa and all African people, from Ghana to southside St. Pete.

The Uhuru Solidarity Movement (USM) is the organization of white people under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party, organizing in the white community for reparations to the economic programs of the Uhuru Movement and the Black Power Blueprint.

Under the leadership of the Party’s The People’s War strategy, USM members are leaving educational literature at the doors of the white community and putting up posters about COVID-19, calling on our white community to pay reparations.

The Uhuru Movement coined the phrase “Solidarity, not Charity!” in the 1980s to express that the resources of African people are African people’s alone. It is our responsibility in the white community to return every penny of those stolen resources that continue to feed our white lifestyles on the backs of exploited African labor!

Reparations is not charity or a handout, but a revolutionary demand!

“Reparations Uprising” is the Uhuru Solidarity Movement’s upcoming National Convention and a call to action!

Featured speakers at the convention include Party Chairman Omali Yeshitela along with others such as Dr. Aisha Fields, President of the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP).

USM’s National Convention is Saturday and Sunday, April 18 and 19 online via Zoom. Register at UhuruSolidarity.org/Register.

Join the Uhuru Solidarity Movement at UhuruSolidarity.org/Join.

Pay reparations at BlackPowerBlueprint.org.

Solidarity, not charity!

Down with the colonialvirus!

Unity through reparations!

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