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Burning Spear News

The time is now! Stop the gentrification of southside St. Pete!

Jun 26, 2019
Akilé Anai, Director of Agitation and Propaganda, African People's Socialist Party

My name is Eritha “Akilé” Cainion, and with the support of the people, I will be the next District 7 City Councilwoman for St. Petersburg, Florida.
 
I’m running alongside Anne Hirsch for District 5 City Council, on a platform of reparations and economic development to the black community, because we know that in order for this city to be truly progressive, we must end the oppression of the black community.
 
Reparations is the road to ending that oppression!
 
My campaign slogan is “Make the Southside Black Again!” - a statement that reminds us that the southside used to be black, and through the city government’s vicious policies of gentrification, this is becoming less of the case.
 
If we don’t do something about it now, if we don’t fight to end gentrification and instead allow for bought politicians to open the door wide open for predatory real estate developers, there won’t be any black people in the southside, and very few of us left in this city.
 
This is why we’re running - to build a movement that’s going to fight back against the forced removal of the black community - to do something about what’s happening to my people!
 
Gentrification isn’t innocent, it’s deadly.
 
It’s not simply our rents going up, forcing us to peacefully relocate somewhere more affordable.
 
It looks like the police on every corner in our community, locking black people up in prison, beating us upside the head with clubs and shooting us down in the streets.
 
It looks like forcing our people into starvation and homelessness, where more and more of us are sleeping on sidewalks and bus benches.
 
Gentrification was the destruction of the Gas Plant district, pushing out 800 families and destroying 100 black businesses.
 
Gentrification is what’s happening to Jordan Park, where residents are being forced to move out so that mayor Kriseman’s developer friends can plant another overpriced condominium there.
 
They’ve been doing this all throughout this community for decades.
 
They destroy any semblance of economic development in our community, raise up the cost of housing, deploy the police into our neighborhoods and drive us out.
 
They offer elderly black men and women chump change for their homes that they’ve owned for generations, and if we don’t budge on their offer, they intimidate us with code violations and similar tactics that causes us to surrender.
 
Gentrification is widespread!
 
Increasingly white workers are experiencing the damaging effects of the expensive downtown development that’s responsible for tearing apart the southside black community.
 
Small businesses are losing out to big developers from Miami and New York—the same developers that funded mayor Kriseman’s re-election campaign and are directly or indirectly contributing to my opponents’ campaigns today.
 
The average cost to rent a 2 bedroom apartment has risen to $1,400 in this city, higher than East New York.
 
A new study released showed that residents of St. Pete have to be making at least $22 an hour to afford the average apartment rent.
 
All of this big development has even caused strain on an already outdated sewage infrastructure, which has partly led to the billion gallons of sewage that ended up in our water—a problem we have been tasked to fix with an increased utility bill.
 
Gentrification affects everything.
 
It isn’t sustainable for life or the environment.
 
This is why we not only have to bring it to a halt - we must reverse its effects!
 
That’s why reparations to the black community is the solution!
 
Reparations means to turn over the land under Tropicana Field back to the black community to build affordable housing and economic development.
 
Creating an abundance of affordable housing relieves pressure from the housing market.
 
Reparations to the black community will turn an economically depressed community into a thriving, self-determined community, where the talent and genius of the black working class will be unleashed.
 
Through reparations, we can create a city based on justice, which will be a city that serves the needs of the people versus the needs of these greedy corporations and developers.
 
But if this government is willing to continue oppressing the black community, it’s willing to do it to anyone who won’t serve its vision of creating another Palm Beach for rich white people.
 
We can’t let them do this.
 
This is why we can’t tolerate these politicians who ask us to give them four more years so that they can get their act together.
 
We can’t listen to the crooks in city hall who say “progress takes time” and tell us that we must wait to see affordable housing, clean water, and economic life in the southside when it takes them no time to build up another fancy apartment or empty office building.
 
The time is now St. Pete!
 
Let’s put an end to gentrification of the black community and support reparations for all that’s been stolen from my community up to today!
 
Vote for me, Eritha “Akilé” Cainion, for District 7, and Anne Hirsch for District 5 City Council on August 27th!
 
Make the southside black again!
Unity through reparations!

 

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