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Burning Spear News

“Unity through Reparations” becomes life changing for white people in St. Pete

Nov 21, 2017
Penny Hess

White people young and old in St. Pete were won to the call for reparations to African people.


St. Petersburg, FL - The narrative was permanently transformed by the demand that reparations and economic development to the African community be the centerfold of city policy, along with black community control of police and an end to gentrification that pushes the African working class out of the city in the face of massive real estate speculation on the part of big money developers.

It was a brilliant strategy to have African People’s Solidarity Committee member and chair of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement Jesse Nevel run for mayor as a white man galvanizing other white people around reparations as the central demand.

Through the process of knocking on thousands of doors, participating in scores of events and actions and speaking to thousands of people on the phones, the campaign committee encountered countless white people who were drawn to the stand of reparations to the African community.

The St. Petersburg campaigns escalated this mass call for white reparations to African people, touching so many white people who wanted to take a principled stand in relationship to African people—especially in the face of the brutal police and white nationalist violence that attacks African people daily in this country.

Following the white violence in Charlottesville, VA in August, the campaign held a rally led by Akilé Anai and Jesse Nevel that mobilized over 200 white people to march from city hall to the police department with fists raised chanting, “Reparations now!”

Local nurse Samantha “Sam” Keckler knocked on doors for the campaign every week. Like many others, Sam has joined Communities United for Reparations and Economic Development, CURED, the precinct-based organization led by Akilé and Jesse to organize to win upcoming local elections.

Green Party local chair Rose Roby was one of the first white people to come on board in support of the campaign after the Pinellas County Greens endorsed Jesse and Akilé in April.

“I could regain the humanity I’d lost as a part of the oppressor nation and numerous opportunist, white nationalist organizations.

“To be able to stand with African people in such a principled way is something that has changed my life forever,” Rose stated.

Green Party member Maggie Gauldin also stated her appreciation for the campaign:

“We were impressed with their sincerity and progressive platform.

“I started attending the Sunday rallies. That's where I started having a much deeper understanding of why reparations is the centerpiece of the campaign.

“There is nothing as spiritually healing as doing meaningful work with like minded people. To be part of something bigger than any one individual.”

This campaign proves that the only solution for the contradictions and despair of millions of white people in the crisis of a social system built on a foundation of the enslavement of African people and genocide of the Indigenous people and theft of their land is in solidarity with the liberation of Africa led by the African working class creating a world of peace in which all humanity can live; no one at the expense of another.

Reparations Now!


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