Eritha “Akilé” Cainion: Florida’s 22 Year Old Political Challenge

Eritha “Akilé” Cainion, traditionally known as Akilé Anai, is a 22-year-old city council candidate, born and raised in southside St. Petersburg, Florida.

With her bold campaign slogan “Make the Southside Black Again” she intends to take the entire city government on, with a platform that speaks to empowering and restoring economic life to the black community.

Akilé was born October 22nd, 1996, just two days before the historic black community rebellions that happened in defense of TyRon Lewis, an 18-year-old young black man shot and killed by the St. Petersburg police.

While in the hospital, her father Bruce Cainion, traditionally known as Ntambwe Bhekizitha, was on the front lines of those rebellions, putting out fires that the city of St. Petersburg attempted to start in the black community after dumping every ounce of tear gas they had in the city into this area.

Akilé was primarily raised by her father, adopting his fighting spirit and desire for justice.

She had the honor of being around the Uhuru Movement at an early age and was educated early on about the struggle for justice for the black community. Akilé attended Gibbs High School for her freshman year, then transferred to St. Petersburg Collegiate High School where she was elected student government secretary during her junior year and president in her senior year.

Akilé was a member of the National Honor Society and was accepted into an International Relations program that allowed her to travel and study in Rome, Italy. She did all of this while maintaining a job on college campus.

Akilé graduated in 2015, receiving both her high school diploma and an Associates in Arts degree at 18-years-old.

She was on target to attend her dream college in New York, but felt greater purpose in serving her community right here in St. Petersburg, Florida.

At 20-years-old, Akilé took on the international campaign for justice for three black teenage girls drowned by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department, that traveled the country on a speaking tour and raised thousands of dollars towards legal fees.

At the same time, Akilé ran for city council in 2017 alongside her running mate Jesse Nevel for mayor, making them the first candidates in the world to run on a platform of reparations to the black community. This campaign made national news, getting featured in Ebony Magazine, The Washington Post and the popular radio show “The Breakfast Club.” At the height of the campaign season, Akilé led a march of over 200 people through the streets of downtown St. Petersburg demanding a city united through reparations.

Since her run, she was appointed as the Director of Agitation and Propaganda of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP), making her the youngest member to sit on the APSP’s National Central Committee.

She is currently the Editor-in-Chief of The Burning Spear newspaper and heads many other media institutions under this department.

Akilé has decided to enter this election because she believes the theft of the black community and forced removal of its residents can no longer be ignored. The black community is being sold to the highest bidder and in a few short years, St. Pete’s rich black history will be just that—a thing of the past.

Eritha Akilé Cainion refuses to let that happen. She is committed to fight in the interests of her community to ensure that every black child will have a future in this city.

The election is August 27th.