Violence against African people is “business as usual” in St. Pete during COVID-19

St Petersburg, FL—City officials are opening up Florida beaches, resulting in the trending hashtag #FloridaMorons.

What is not captured in the hashtag is that while white people are fighting for more exposure to the virus, African people are dying at alarming rates throughout the country and struggling more than usual to survive under colonial domination.

Following neighboring county Sarasota opening its beaches, infamous sheriff Bob Gaultieri has proclaimed support for opening up Pinellas County beaches and public pools.

Gaultieri has the blood of many Africans on his hands including three teenage girls his sheriffs pushed into a pond and drowned in 2016. He has confirmed “business as usual” in forced evictions, as well as arrests and incarceration of majority African people.

The Uhuru Movement recognizes Gaultieri and all sheriffs and police as a colonial occupying force in African communities.

Colonialism is the foreign and alien domination of a people for the purpose of economic exploitation and political advantage. It is to strip a people of all human and civil rights and to rule without regard for law.

The reason African people are dying at high rates from COVID-19 all throughout the country and the world is due to being a colonized and oppressed people. Without economic self-reliance and political independence, Africans are at the mercy of our white power oppressors who profit from our exploitation.

This is why the Uhuru Movement describes the virus as the colonialvirus.

Reopening St. Pete will benefit white people and result in African deaths

“Business as usual,” referred to by Gautlieri, includes the predatory court system.

A University of South Florida student recently received a court date despite St. Pete’s stay-at-home order. Her court date is the result of St. Pete police arresting her in retaliation last November after she defended an African man from their brutality on her campus.

Robert Blackmon of St. Pete city council wants to open restaurants before opening beaches, feigning concern for the people. He says, “if we open restaurants, people will be able to get their livelihood because we’re predominately a hospitality industry.”

The hospitality industry of St. Pete is historically, and continues to be, rooted in the oppression of the African community. African people are deprived of their own economic development, and so are forced to serve the white community in restaurants and nursing homes.

COVID-19 is running rampant in nursing homes in St. Pete and throughout the country, putting at risk not only the elderly patients but also the nurses, many of whom are African and risk infection themselves and for their families.

Rick Kriseman, notorious mayor who spilled over one billion gallons of sewage into the black community, and then Tampa Bay at large, has formed a group of “advisors” to consult on how and when to reopen St. Pete.

The commission includes seven CEOs but no one representing the working class African community.

If Blackmon and others truly care about African people’s livelihoods, they will support reparations and economic development in the hands of African people.

St. Pete is not prepared for COVID-19, let alone a rise in cases

In 2015, St. Petersburg General Hospital was rated among the 12 worst hospitals in infection rates in the country by Consumer Reports.

St. Petersburg General and other local hospitals have not been prepared for COVID-19 and would certainly not be prepared for a rise in cases from opening beaches or restaurants.

African people are already turned away from testing and from hospitals, if we have healthcare at all.

We used to have our own hospital in St. Pete, called Mercy Hospital. It is now reduced to a historical display case with mannequins of African doctors and patients.

This is a slap in the face of our people and our right to control our own health and healthcare, independent of white power hospitals that kill us, or do not treat us, regularly.

White people get beaches and flowers; we get nothing

White business owners are receiving stimulus checks and loans, while we get nothing.

Wealthy white people of the Waterfront Parks Foundation just put forward $92 million for 828 daisies and 4,480 begonias to “beautify” St. Pete’s notorious pier, a tourist attraction valued infinitely more than our lives.

That is $92 million that should go to reparations.

St. Pete city is holding nominations for people to receive personal phone calls “for mental health” from Rick Kriseman, deputy mayor Kanika Tomalin, or notorious St. Pete police chief Anthony Holloway.

Most Africans can think of nothing less comforting than interaction with any of the three, including Holloway who oversaw the brutal military lockdown of the African community during the Martin Luther King Day events of 2017.

Uhuru Movement a “beacon of hope”

Uhuru Movement members of St. Pete have been postering educational information about COVID-19 in the heart of the African community to arm our people against this colonialvirus.

The Uhuru House stands in St. Pete as a beacon of hope to the African community, containing the only programs that empower and uplift the African community of St. Pete. Many of the programs are temporarily closed due to COVID-19 for the safety of the people and staff.

We must defend these institutions through building The People’s War campaign against colonialvirus and white power.

On April 25, African People’s Socialist Party Southern Region held an online conference featuring Chairman Omali Yeshitela, along with Dr. Aisha Fields of The People’s War Health Commission and Southern Regional Representative Kobina Bantushango.

This conference laid out the significance of building the African Liberation Movement throughout the southern region of the U.S., including in St. Petersburg, FL. Chairman Yeshitela summed up on his Sunday Study that “organization is the greatest weapon we [African people] have.”

Down with the colonialvirus!

Down with white power!

Build the Southern Region!

Join The People’s War Commission!


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