Category Archives: Articles

Youth Climate Strike: Why me and why now?

by Lauren Cohen

Students from around the country and the world participated in a Youth Climate Strike on March 15. Here in Gainesville, the strike took place in the form of a demonstration downtown in front of City Hall.

The strike was inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who started striking regularly from classes in an effort to raise awareness and demand reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions.

As a young activist (I am a 15-year-old high school freshman), I was attracted to the significance of this world-wide event. Having been involved in other events in the past and maintaining a strong moral understanding that we all have responsibility for the future of our world, I believed that participating in the Youth Climate Strike was not only important, but necessary.

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From the publisher … Community

by Joe Courter

Community: this word is in my mind a lot. We humans are social beings, and how we relate to one another impacts ourselves (our internal experiences) and the others in our shared world. The Google dictionary says this:

  • a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
  • a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
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Positive reflections on recent city election

by Molly Mencken

Note: A number of people expressed surprise at the Iguana for not endorsing Lauren Poe and Adrian Hayes-Santos in this past election, candidates we had strongly endorsed previously. This piece gives a good reflection of the value of challenging incumbents as a way of making them better and bringing issues to the fore.

Movement organizers are reluctant to hinge hopes on election campaigns at the state and national level, where party politics interfere with justice and equity work. But the 2019 Gainesville Mayor’s race shows how a local low-budget grassroots leverage campaign can move mountains against a popular establishment Democratic incumbent.

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Student Power: Boot the Braids

by Coalition of Immokalee Workers

On March 19, the University of Florida Student Government escalated student pressure on Wendy’s—and on UF President Kent Fuchs—voting unanimously to call on the UF administration to cut the university’s contract with Wendy’s until the fast-food giant joins the Fair Food Program. The vote came just days after students, farmworkers and Gainesville community members organized a huge march on President Fuchs’ office, demanding action in support of Florida farmworkers’ fundamental human rights.  

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Student Power: Major victory for Divest UF

by Aggie Agreros

On Thursday, March 28, UF student organizers, including myself, learned that our fight to hold the university up to its stated ideals had made an extraordinary breakthrough. 

In a meeting between Divest UF, a loose collective of students, faculty, alumni, and community members organizing to financially disentangle UF from toxic industries, and the University of Florida Investment Corporation (UFICO), the University agreed to dramatically change their investment strategy by passing an ESG Policy to which they will hold their fund managers accountable. 

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April 2019 Gainesville Iguana

The April 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.

Rush to the Rad Scene

What: Radical Rush
When: March 12 & 13, 11am
Where: Plaza of the Americas

By Kaithleen Hernandez

Cities like Gainesville are able to keep moving forward in a progressive direction because of the organizations that mobilize and work to keep movements alive. 

This world teaches us that there is always work to be done, this is why Rad Rush has continued on since 1998 and will continue to bring a radical presence to campus to get the youth involved in local activism. 

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UF Campus Coalition teach-in

By Ashley Ngyuen, Courtesy Alachua County Labor Coalition

On Feb. 6, the UF Campus Coalition held its first in a series of teach-ins to educate members of the UF community about environmentalism, labor and race relations. Over 50 members of the community attended the Teach-In, including speaker Dr. Wendell Porter and speakers from Divest UF, Graduate Assistants United, and UF Students. 

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African American Oral History Symposium: March 21-23

From Segregation to Black Lives Matter:A Symposium and Celebration of the opening of the Joel Buchanan Archive of African American Oral History at the University of Florida

This three-day symposium marks the formal opening of the Joel Buchanan African American Oral History Archive at the University of Florida to scholars, students and researchers.

The event will bring together scholars, educators, and community leaders to discuss the latest trends in African American history from K-12 to higher education. Participants will have the opportunity to view and listen to films, podcasts and panelists. The event will also feature book-signings of noted authors.

This conference is FREE and open to the public.

If you plan to join us at our wonderful symposium please RSVP via the link on our Eventbrite page: 

https://tinyurl.com/yblnpayx

History and the people who make it: Mildred A. Hill-Lubin, pt. 2

Mildred Hill-Lubin [H], UF literature professor, was interviewed by James Myers [M] in June, 2009; the first part of this interview ran in the Jan-Feb Iguana.

This is the 52nd in a series of transcript excerpts from the UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program collection. Notes in [square brackets] by SPOHP; interpolations in {curly brackets} by Iguana.

Transcript edited by Pierce Butler.

M: Your son, from what I understand, integrated schools in Augusta.

H: He did, he did. That was one of the most unbelievable experiences. I felt it was necessary. He was in first grade, and President Kennedy was assassinated just about the time he started school, in [19]63. When Whites in the community discovered he was going to integrate schools, they started calling me on the telephone telling me that they were going to kill him as they shot Kennedy. That was a bad feeling. I wrote a letter to myself, and I said, “If he were old enough to go to the Army, he would be drafted to fight for his country to give us freedom.” I felt that enrolling him to help integrate schools was equally important. So, he did integrate the schools. 

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Vote NO on the Charter Review Commission

by Gary Gordon

I am suspicious of government.

Trump is not the first to lie or to be devious.

So when a ballot measure appears without fanfare I am inclined to wonder why.

On March 19, Gainesville citizens will be asked to vote on whether or not to create a Charter Review Commission: an 11-person citizen committee, appointed by the City Commission to review the Charter and make recommendations. The City Commission can veto the recommendations, called amendments, by a 2/3 vote, otherwise the amendments become proposed changes to be voted on by the public in a November election.

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Despite setbacks, WGOT hopes to stream in 2019

By Debi Martinez, WGOT Financial Director, and Fred Sowder, Station Coordinator

It’s been a busy 2019 for your community radio station. Our 11th birthday bash was a great party. Thanks to the Atlantic for hosting us every year as well as to the bands for donating their time and talents: BiteMarks, Palimony, Shark Anatomy, and HaveWeMet. We’re looking forward to our 12th next year. Our next benefit show is coming up on Friday, April 26 at Loosey’s Downtown. We’ve also participated in events including International Clash Day, VegFest, Active Streets and the Gainesville Mini Maker Faire. Stay tuned to our Facebook page and wgot.org for more news.

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Civic Media Center to hold Springboard annual fundraiser

What: CMC SpringBoard fundraiser
When: Friday, April 5, 6-9 pm
Where: Forage Hall, Working Food

by Joe Courter

The Civic Media Center’s SpringBoard fundraiser will be held on Friday evening, April 5, in Forage Hall at Working Food, 240 NW 10th Ave. This is located behind Afternoon Restaurant and near Cypress and Grove. This is also the location where the CMC hosted its anniversary event with Amy Goodman last October. 

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Boot the Braids: Farmworkers fight Wendy’s

What: March for Fair Food Program
When: Tuesday, March 14, 12:30 pm
Where: Norman Lawn, UF

by Coalition of Immokalee Workers

From March 2-14, farmworkers from Immokalee, Florida, will travel across the nation to four of the country’s top public universities – the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Ohio State University in Columbus, and the University of Florida in Gainesville – to join students and community members in calling on these institutions to end their relationships with Wendy’s until the fast-food giant joins the award-winning Fair Food Program. 

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Global youth climate strike

What: Strike for the New Green Deal 
When: Friday, March 15, 4-6 pm
Where: Gainesville City Hall

We, the youth of America, are striking because decades of inaction has left us with just 11 years (or less) to solve the climate crisis. 

We are striking because the necessary action to achieve the common-sense and vital goal of fighting climate change is not being prioritized. 

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Stop the drift to war on Venezuela

by Joe Courter

The slow motion squeeze being put on Venezuela over the last 10 or 15 years has been so incremental as to not register in people’s minds, or in the reporting on affairs in that country. They hit home for me because I spent 10 days in Venezuela in 2008, in Caracas and out in the country as well, both urban and rural. Chavez was still president, and the many programs put in place to help the poor with education and healthcare were elevating the lives of people we met with. 

Yes, I am sure, then and more so now as sanctions have done their work, the more wealthy folks were not pleased, but this is understandable when an economy is reorganized to give more to those who have less. 

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Santa Fe adjunct faculty file for union election

by Glynn Hayes, Santa Fe Adjunct Faculty

In December of 2018, adjunct faculty at Santa Fe College filed for a union election. This is from a speech given by Glynn Hayes, a Natural Sciences adjunct professor, at the Jan. 14 Santa Fe Board of Trustees meeting. 

I have worked as an adjunct at Santa Fe College for more than ten years and am proud to work for this exemplary institution. I often have students take several of my different classes and I spend considerable time talking to students outside of class about their hopes, concerns and goals. I also know that for many adjuncts who have to work several jobs, these types of time investments in our students is desired, but just not possible.

We, as adjuncts, make up more than 50 percent of the faculty. Santa Fe College could not function or maintain its high standards without the service of its adjuncts. Adjunct positions were created as temporary short-term positions, but because of funding cutbacks in education, adjuncting is no longer a temporary thing and full-time positions are few and far in between. 

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City, County decisions to cut prison labor contracts lands major victory for modern day abolitionists

by Panagioti Tsolkas

You don’t have to declare yourself a prison abolitionist to see that the facade of legitimacy in Florida’s Department of Corrections is fading fast. Even Republican State Senator Keith Perry noted publicly this month, “When [prisoners] get released, they are worse than when they went in.” In February of last year, the Miami Herald’s coverage of reform efforts stated that “Florida is afraid of its prison system.” So much for corrections.  

But it never has been about correction. Florida’s prison system, born in 1868 (a mere three years after chattel slavery was outlawed), inherited the ugly legacy of pre-Civil War politics. I don’t mean that metaphorically. I mean the massive prison economy of rural Florida has literally been providing a social and economic safe haven for the remnants of Neo-Confederate outfits.

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From the publisher … On saying no

by Joe Courter

So here we are two years into the Trump administration.  And pretty much every day is another statement, policy, tweet or appointment that has us shaking our heads. Today it’s the appointment of a climate change (i.e., science) denier to head the White House panel on climate change. Two days ago it was the launching (pardon the pun) of an arms race in space with the creation of the “Space Command.” We watch in horror as immigrants fleeing the turmoil in their homelands are mis-characterized and vilified, to the point that families are being separated, and children are being locked up and even lost in the process. The nation is pulled out of international climate and arms control agreements.  I won’t go on, you get the picture, you know it all too well. 

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Gainesville city elections, March 19

by Joe Courter

Yes, another election, this time for the City of Gainesville Mayor (citywide), District 4 City Commissioner (which is in the south/central area) and a referendum on charter review (also citywide and discussed in a separate article).

The mayoral race pits incumbent Mayor Lauren Poe against three challengers: Marlon Bruce, a 20-year-old Santa Fe College student with a questionable performance record in student government there; Jennifer Reid, a registered Republican and attorney big on public safety issues; and Jenn Powell, who was and is a strong Bernie Sanders supporter, a community activist, and formerly a candidate for City Commission a few years ago. Being a four-way race, it is possible there will be a runoff stretching to April.

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