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Daily Inspiration: Meet Erica Caines

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erica Caines.

Hi Erica, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
As a former early childhood education teacher and after years of being online looking to get active in the movement for Black Lives, I found a way to connect both things. What I noticed from teaching (and being a new mother) was the lack of books that featured Black children or were written by Black authors.

In the summer of 2017, I was approached to assist in a local back-to-school event and that’s how Liberation Through Reading, my pay-it-forward book gifting program, was born.

The following year, as a supporter of the release of Keith Davis Jr, I attended a Black Alliance For Peace event that featured Kelly Davis, Keith’s wife, and left that event as a member of BAP and helped build a chapter in Baltimore.

LTR has since gifted over 3000 books in multiple cities and my role in BAP has greatly expanded. I am now on the BAP coordinating committee and the co-coordinator of the BAP Haiti and The Americas committee.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I think while attempting to find your way, there are countless stumbling blocks. Who I was in the Summer of 2017 before LTR, before BAP, before joining Ujima People’s Progress Party is not who I am now.

There’s been a lot of struggling of ideas, a lot of great ideas that just didn’t work in practice, a lot of “back to the drawing board” moments and even now, years later and fully immersed in organizing, there are difficulties I’m coming across whether that be in communication, delegating or planning.

The idea that organizing should be smooth is a convoluted one. As Amilcar Cabral, Revolutionary leader of the PAIGC in Guinea Bissau, said, “the people are not fighting for ideas… the people fight and accept the sacrifices demanded by the struggle.”

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a mother to a very self-sovereign child, meaning he has his own mind and always wants to do his own thing. I am the author of a poetry book, All in Love Is Fair, self-published in 2014.

Currently, I am co-editor of the African Revolutionary blog, Hood Communist, which helps provide analysis and popular/political education for Africans/ Black people on the left here and abroad.

And while being a mother, a published writer, and running a blog people have been very receptive to some extraordinary personal accomplishments.

I’m most proud of being an active and dues-paying member of organizations dedicated to the liberation and advancement of Africans worldwide, not just here.

What makes you happy?
Soca music! I am Trini to the bone! I love soca music and can listen to it at any time. All day every day.

And it has been such a treat to discover the more “radical” soca and calypso artists from a nation with such deep radical roots (George Padmore, Claudia Jones, CLR James, Kwame Ture, etc)

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