September 2019 Gainesville Iguana

The September issue of the Iguana is now available, and you can access it here! If you want to get your hands on a hard copy, check out our distro locations here.

Medicare for all

by Gaby Gross, Alachua County Labor Coalition

Before the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) was enacted in 2010, the main work of our organization was to push for single-payer, universal healthcare. We believed then and still do that healthcare is a human right and that its delivery would be less costly and more efficient without the intervention of insurance companies. Although it definitely did not offer universal healthcare, the ACA provided significant improvements in healthcare coverage and it was unfeasible to work against it. The ACLC turned its energy to local issues.

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History and the people who make it: Magaline Duncan

Magaline Duncan [D], farmworker, was interviewed by David Lynch [L] in July, 2013.

This is the 53rd in a series of transcript excerpts from the UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program collection. Interpolations in {curly brackets} by Iguana.

Transcript edited by Pierce Butler.

L: Where and when were you born?

D: January 23, 1942 in Madison, Florida. I growed up—eight years old when we left. We moved to Pahokee. When we moved here {Apopka}, I was thirteen.

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WGOT streams worldwide wherever you are, Tune in!

By Fred Sowder, WGOT Station Coordinator

For over 11 ½ years, WGOT has existed, through thick and thin, as the Civic Media Center’s radio station. Summertime is always a bit slow, but there are things you can do to help us out, with little or no cost involved.

First, tune in on our worldwide internet stream. There’s a direct listen link at or you can find us on the streaming app TuneIn. You can probably even listen to us on your television. We’ve been streaming since April and are still getting the word out, so please help spread the word on social media and elsewhere. 

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Proposed phosphate mining update

by Carol Mosley, Bridges Across Borders & Bradford Environmental Forum

The Upper Santa Fe River basin gets little attention though it includes the New River, which feeds the Santa Fe River. The New River is the county line between Bradford and Union County, and the proposed HPSII phosphate mining would straddle that river.

The fight began in 2016 when four local families made it clear they intended to mine nearly 10,000 acres in both counties, and on both sides of the New River. Union County enacted a Moratorium against accepting any mining application until they updated their Land Development Regulations and Comprehensive Plan. Bradford County did not enact a Moratorium and received a Master Mining Plan from HPSII in April 2016. 

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Women’s World Cup well worth watching

by Joe Courter

The Women’s World Cup will wind up Sunday, July 7, but by all means try and catch the quarter finals June 27-29 and semi finals July 2-3. 

Why? Because the women play hard and clean, with very little “diving” that plagues the men’s game. 

Seeing how far the world has come with respect and support for the women’s game is a mirror of women gaining their rights and respect in their own societies. 

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Santa Fe College faculty adjuncts demand union

by Jason Fults

For the past two years, adjunct faculty at Santa Fe College have been working hard to improve their status, wages, and working conditions. Despite teaching a majority of the class load in many departments, these faculty are treated like second-class citizens by the college, including being paid less than half the rate of their full-time colleagues, with no benefits and no job security from one semester to the next.  

Alongside numerous efforts within the College Senate, a “recommending” body where adjuncts have little voice to begin with, they began collecting union authorization cards. The Santa Fe Organizing Committee has been, from the beginning, comprised of full and part-time faculty and staff who support adjuncts’ right to union representation and fair wages and benefits.

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Peace Poetry Contest winners share poems

This year marked the tenth anniversary of the Peace Poetry Contest in Alachua County, hosted by Gainesville Veterans for Peace, where are students, grades K-12, were encouraged to submit one original poem focusing on their interpretation of “peace.” This year, VFP received 300 poems from all grades, and the poems were judged by a panel of community judges and writers. The winners were asked to read at the Peace Poetry Reading at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville on May 4, and their poems are published in the 2019 Peace Poetry Contest Book. We are pleased to include a couple of the winning poems here.

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From the publisher … Yes, human caused

by Joe Courter

Eating and sleeping are things we share with every other living being in the world. Finding what to eat and determining where to sleep are handled in a variety of ways. Some need to work at it harder than others. Some spend their time as independent entities, some join herds or small groupings. Some live in small areas, others have to either search a wider area or even undertake stunning long-distance migrations. There are ones who live below the water, who live on land or burrowed under it, or who have the ability to soar in the sky. What a wondrous planet we all share.

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Friends of Susan B. Anthony to celebrate Women’s Equality Day

The Friends of Susan B. Anthony will celebrate Women’s Equality Day with their annual festive luncheon on Saturday, Aug. 24. (Women’s Equality Day is Aug. 26.) 

This event, which began as an informal birthday party for Susan B. Anthony over forty years ago, is now held in conjunction with the anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. 

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Prison abolitionists block FDOT vehicles drawing connections between bail and slavery

by Fight Toxic Prisons

On June 17, a demonstration at the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) offices at 5007 NE 39th Ave, disrupted the activity of Department of Corrections (FDOC), which has a $19.6 million contract to lease out prisoners as unpaid slaves to do road work for the State. 

The protest came at the close of a weekend-long gathering of activists from across the country, the Fight Toxic Prisons (FTP) Convergence. The group also coordinated the Father’s Day Bailout / Juneteenth rally later that day at the Alachua County Jail. The bailout raised almost $14,000 and has successfully bailed out three pre-trial prisoners including Gerald Bell, held on a $7,000 bond for drug-related charges.

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LGBTQ migrants and Gay Pride™

by Heather Vrana

Now that the glitter is ground into the carpet and the rainbow flags are put away ‘til next season, it is crucial to remember our comrades in Central America whose gay pride parades sometimes lead northward toward the Mexico border, across the deadly Sonoran Desert, and into the United States. 

To be LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer) in Central America is “to carry a heavy colonial burden,” in the words of Nahil Zeron, Honduran Latinx scholar-activist, who spoke at the Latin American Studies Association meeting in May. “We migrate across borders of gender, heterosexuality … to liberate our bodies.”

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Saving neighborhoods: Stand for Seminary Lane

by The Gainesville Alliancefor Equitable Development

For years, Seminary Lane Apartments – located in one of Gainesville’s oldest historically black neighborhoods – was home to citizens who needed an affordable housing solution to their economic woes.  

After years of neglect and disinvestment, the 2-story townhouse-style apartment homes fell into disrepair and, in 2009, were torn down with the promise to tenants that more suitable affordable housing would be built for them at the Seminary Lane site.  

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July/August 2019 Gainesville Iguana

The July-August issue of the Iguana is now available, and you can access it here! If you want to get your hands on a hard copy, check out our distro locations here.

Memorial Mile

Veterans for Peace will display more than 6,959 tombstones on 8th Avenue just east of 31st Street from dawn on Saturday, May 25 through dusk on Memorial Day, May 27. The display is part of their Memorial Day Weekend event to remember soldiers who have died in the wars in Afghanistan since 2001 and in Iraq since 2003.

The tombstones will line the street where the Solar System Walk is located. This is the eleventh year VFP has set up the display. In 2008 they crossed over to the north side of 8th Avenue due to the continuing number of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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SB 168 goes against fundamental American values

A new anti-immigrant bill is making its way through the Florida legislature and aims to outlaw sanctuary cities in this state. While there are no sanctuary cities in Florida, SB 168 sends a harmful message to immigrants.

Immigrants are not a threat to this country’s safety or economy. That divisive rhetoric is spin pushed by the president. SB 168 goes against every fundamental American value. It would create lasting damage to businesses and industries in this state and make law enforcement more difficult and demanding.

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Dr. Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons retires

Friday, April 19 marked a milestone in the life of Dr. Zoharah Simmons, as she was honored with a retirement party at the Keene Faculty Center, co-hosted by African American Studies, Center for Women and Gender Studies, and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program.  

That list alone shows how involved she was at UF, but it doesn’t scratch the surface of her life experience as a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee volunteer in the 1960s, her activities in the broader civil rights and peace movements in the 70’s, and later with the American Friends Service Committee and academia. 

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Porters Quarters residents fight land grab

by Olysha Magruder and Tyler Foerst

Porters Quarters is a small but historic community in the center of the Downtown Gainesville area. The residents of Porters are working class people, many of whom are African American and whose families have lived here for generations. Indeed, one neighbor, Olivia said, that the house and land she and her husband own in Porters is their legacy.

Porters has felt the pressure of UF’s ever-expanding campus and the cry for urban density, especially in the past couple of years. The need for student housing and office space is huge for such a large university and the Innovation District of our City. 

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Satchel’s May ATM fees will go to CMC

Satchel’s Pizza, and the adjoining Lightning Salvage, have a special place in Gainesville, After rebuilding from a big fire a couple years ago, they have come roaring back better than ever.  

The gift shop, kinda barren when they first reopened, is again chock full of the weird novelty items you never see anywhere else. They are pioneering early evening music, with live music running from 6 to 9 most nights. They treat their employees well, too, setting a high standard for other Gainesville businesses.

They are cash-only, which means their ATM gets a workout, and Satchel donates that fee to one or another nonprofit organizations every month. May’s organization is the Civic Media Center, so go get some money out of that machine, get yourself a calzone or pizza, maybe a big salad, and enjoy. 

WGOT begins streaming, seeks local sponsor relationships

By Fred Sowder, WGOT Station Coordinator

It’s been a busy couple of months at your community radio station. WGOT recently had a blast at our most recent benefit concert at Loosey’s Downtown. Thanks to Ricky Kendall, Dolce Kings, VOWLS, Leaning Trees, and members of Captive Eddies for loaning their time and talents to our cause; Danny Hughes for offering up his venue; and to everyone who attended. You put community in community radio every day and are the reason we do what we do. We also express gratitude to all who made our first year in “The Amazing Give” a successful one.

We’ve also moved forward on a leap of faith and have begun streaming worldwide. Visit for details or, if you have the TuneIn app on your mobile device, search for WGOT. We’re still ironing out technical details, but for the most part, you can now take us with you to hear our great variety of local and national music and talk programs no matter where you are. We’re still short about $1,000 of our streaming GoFundMe campaign goal, so please consider donating to help put us over the top. We’ve also applied for local grants so we can continue to stream while hoping to hear good news from those efforts. 

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