Category Archives: Articles

Elections update: May 1 runoff — Vote Gigi Simmons for Gainesville City Commission District 1

by Joe Courter

Nope, City election is not over. It would have been if a few dozen people in District 1 had voted or voted differently, but instead there is a runoff on May 1 between Gigi Simmons and incumbent Charles Goston.

Simmons came really close to an outright victory March 20, and we fully hope that she will prevail in the runoff. Gail Johnson, who won resoundingly in March to unseat Harvey Budd, has endorsed Simmons, and after sitting through all those joint forums, she has a great seat to understand the differences between Gigi and Charles. The third candidate in that race, Ty Loudd, has also endorsed Gigi.

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From the publisher … The heat is on, and it’s not just Spring

Heat can be a good thing. Therapeutic heat can ease muscle soreness. That warm sun we all enjoy in Fall, Winter and Spring is so welcome on our skin (Summer not so much). Sitting around a bonfire, fireplace or wood stove adds a soothing feeling that goes way back in our ancestral memory, keeping the cold at bay. Even the warmth of a nice sweater, a scarf, or the warm embrace of another human is a great comfort.

Heat can also be used as a metaphor for things political, and on many levels things are heating up. Writing this column last month was a breeze, the fired-up students of Stoneman Douglas turned up the heat on the NRA and the insane availability of assault weapons to the wrong people like nothing had ever before.

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Sara Amatniek at CMC’s ArtWalk

The Civic Media Center’s ArtWalk for Friday, April 27 will feature an opportunity to purchase low-cost prints by New York–based artist Sara Amatniek. Ms. Amatniek, the mother of Gainesville resident Kathy Sarachild, died in 1996, and this is a sale of her unframed printworks at a discounted price. Amatniek’s works were displayed around the NYC area, as well as in Egypt, Israel and India. They are colorful, textured prints of great detail, and their production incorporates contemporary techniques and ancient forms of printmaking.

Sara Amatniek was a feminist who strongly supported the work of her daughter Kathy, a founding member of Redstockings of the Women’s Liberation Movement (founded in the late 1960s). The proceeds of the sale will benefit the continued work of Redstockings, now an activist think tank and archive project working to advance the Women’s Liberation agenda, and the Civic Media Center and Stetson Kennedy Library, a progressive community resource center marking its 25th year in 2018.

The CMC is at 433 S. Main St., with parking on SE Fifth Ave. or on South Main Street. The sale will run from 7-10 pm. There will be live music starting shortly after 9pm.

History and the people who make it: Clarence Sears, pt. 2

Clarence Sears [S], FBI KKK infiltrator, was interviewed by Ryan Morini [M] in August, 2015.

This is the 47h in a series of transcript excerpts from the UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program collection.

Transcript edited by Pierce Butler.

Content note: This interview, like the previous excerpt in the March Iguana, includes offensive racial slurs, repeated intact here for historical accuracy.

This portion of the interview is continued from the March, 2018 Iguana. Part 1 can be found at:

S: The Klan died in that moment, in Duval County. Once the Klan know that they’re not secret, they’ve lost it. Scared to death.

They kept meeting in a little barn on what is now Bay Meadows Road. In those days it was a dirt street, and a guy had a little barn there. It had a room upstairs, and that became our clubhouse, but it never was the same. Nobody ever advocated violence. They’d just come and talk about Americanism [Laughter].

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Prison visitation cuts held at bay … for now

By Panagioti Tsolkas,

In February, the Florida Department of Corrections announced intent to start a new visitation schedule, known as Rule Change, 33-601.722.,that could leave a mere fraction of options available to prisoners and their families. Currently, visitation is allowed every weekend, from 9am to 3 pm, plus holidays. This averages over 50 hours of possible visitation a month. Proposed cuts would allow FDOC to provide half of the days (alternating weekends) and as little as two hours per visit, leaving an average of around 10 hours per month.

It was been studied and reported that frequent visitation is a driving force for prisoner rehabilitation (in the cases where that is needed). Visitation improves the rate of successful re-entry back into society and is proven to reduce recidivism rates—where currently over a quarter end up back in prison within three years.

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WGOT studio ready to roll with upcoming events

Rent party/Jam session: Apr. 14, 5-8pm
Civic Media Center

Benefit Concert: Sat., April 28
Hardback Café

By Fred Sowder
WGOT Station Manager

It’s been months in the making, but thanks to the patience and kindness of donors, listeners, and volunteers, WGOT is getting its studio together at the Civic Media Center for regular use beginning this summer. A finished studio will finally allow WGOT to present live programming featuring news, interviews, great new music, and more. Through the magic of Skype, we should also soon be able to take phone calls from listeners and guests.

These accomplishments can only continue to happen with your support.  Like most radio stations, WGOT has regular monthly expenses such as rent and utilities as well as other rights fees that allow us to bring you the latest music across genres in addition to in-depth news and analysis such as Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman and The Thom Hartmann Program. All of our local hosts and other members do so without payment or other compensation, so we are forever grateful for their steadfast service. However, your support, financially or otherwise, is vital for us to continue bringing you a compelling mix of local and national music and talk programs 24 hours a day.

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Queer Soup Night: Soup from the LGBTQ Soul

April 22, 2018  6-9:30pm
219 NW 10th Ave.
RSVP on Facebook @Queer Soup Night Gainesville: Earth Day

After a resoundingly successful launch, Queer Soup Night (QSN) is back for a second installment of its feel good/do good community supper. The donation-based fundraiser offers party-goers live music, a selection of three soups made by local chefs using locally-sourced ingredients, and the opportunity to come together in solidarity with the Gainesville Queer community.

In celebration of Earth Day, all proceeds from Queer Soup Night will benefit programming at Working Food. This local non-profit, which will also host the event in its beautiful mural-studded courtyard, is committed to a sustainable and equitable food future for all in North Central Florida.

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Food Justice Study Group

Meets: Thursday, May 31, 6:30-7:30pm
Civic Media Center, Gainesville

Florida Organic Growers (FOG) continues with its Food Justice Study Group for local residents in Gainesville and its surrounding communities.

Every other month, we discuss a book or documentary that has been selected to generate a conversation about how our contemporary food system can help us better understand the complex issues of race, class, gender, both our collective and individual histories, and how we might envision and achieve a more sustainable, socially-just society.

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UF OPS workers continue fight for better conditions

by Jeremiah Tattersall
Lead Organizer, 
Alachua County Labor Coalition

University of Florida OPS (temporary staff and adjunct faculty) workers continue their fight for better working conditions with the help of the Alachua County Labor Coalition.

The campaign started in September 2017, after OPS workers were left with nearly a week without pay, due to Hurricane Irma. All UF workers except the over 15,000 OPS employees were paid for these and other school closures.

OPS workers continue to face extreme hardship due to this policy of UF, with many facing mounting debts, days of hunger, losing health insurance, and at least one OPS worker becoming homeless.

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Women and the environment: let the healing begin

By Nkwanda Jah

My connection to the environment and life on the planet started far before I knew what it was. As a child I loved being outside exploring the more than 40 acres my family owned and lived on. I loved chasing the butterflies and mosquito hawks, I loved the fruit from the trees and vines. I loved working in the garden with my grandmother.

It was many years later as I enjoyed my work as a community activist that I (my organization, Cultural Arts Coalition) was asked by the City Commission to design an educational video about recycling. Our city had not been very successful in getting communities of color to participate in its recycling program.


We combined rap, dance, double dutch jump rope and handjive, and partnered with a local television station to produce an award winning video. We used local youth between the ages of 8 and 21. Not only did participation in recycling increase, but the video was used in more than 20 states as educational material.

I perceived this success as a sign from the Creator that I should be doing this kind of work. Over the years I have become increasingly aware of my unusual connectedness to the Earth/Planet/Environment.  I take it personally when any part of life on the planet is threatened.  That goes from the smallest of animals and plants to the largest, whether they are below the earth in the oceans, on earth, or flying high or low above. This sometimes is so strong that I feel a deep responsibility for protecting all of this life.

Since that time I have dedicated my life to doing better by the environment and teaching others to do the same.  In addition to recycling education, we cover food, water and air quality. We find various ways to advocate for our planet. As chair of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice committee, I engage the African American community to participate in the discussion and the work.

I am not saying you have to be a woman to truly be one with the Earth, but I truly believe it helps. Its helps to understand the life born from the Creator because of the life a woman/female produces. It’s knowing that as a mother you do not love one child more than the other. This helps in the understanding that the Creator loves everything it produces as a mother loves all she produces.

I feel me, my womanism, my feminism, my love for all of life, has lead me to this journey. I find it to be fulfilling, yet I am fearful. I am fearful that not enough humanity has the capacity to love and appreciate all of life.  I fear humanity’s selfishness and greed will collectively destroy life as we have known it.

I believe it will require the womanist, the strength of mothers, to make our environment/planet well again.

Let the healing begin.