Category Archives: Articles

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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Why should UF Divest?

by Marcela Mulholland

World renowned civil rights activist and writer James Baldwin once said, “The paradox of education is precisely this – that as one begins to become conscious, one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.” Along this same vein, the development of my consciousness has led me to examine the educational institution largely responsible for this development, the University of Florida.

When I first arrived at UF over three years ago I knew little to nothing about climate change, private prisons or any other social justice issues. I remember sitting in a Facets of Sustainability course during the fall of my freshman year learning about climate change and feeling angry that I had been alive for 18 years without anyone ever telling me that quite literally civilization as we know it is on the brink of collapse. 

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March 2019 Gainesville Iguana

The March 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.

WGOT celebrates 11 years on the air this month

By Fred Sowder, WGOT Station Coordinator

It was a busy 2018 for WGOT as we opened our studio inside the Civic Media Center. We’re still seeking volunteers to host live radio shows in the afternoons and evenings. Please consider becoming a volunteer by contacting us through Facebook (which has been blowing up lately!) or emailing info@wgot.org. Unlike a pre-recorded show or podcast, live radio is fun and immediate, getting instant reaction from the listening audience. Even if you’ve never done it before, we’ll gladly show you how. We’re also always in need of behind-the-scenes volunteers for everything from program scheduling to graphic design. Our next board meeting is at the CMC on Sunday, January 27th at 2pm for those interested in getting your feet wet with community radio.

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Women’s March

by Pam Smith

On Jan. 19, women from all over will join together in Washington DC and march to show our opposition to the racist, homophobic, classist regime ruling there. Gainesville Women’s Marchers are going by car, bus, plane and train. There will be sister marchers from every state.

On the local level, we are joining the statewide march in Orlando that starts at 10am at Eola Park – a combined march of people celebrating Martin Luther King day and the Women’s March. 

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History and the people who make it: Mildred A. Hill-Lubin, pt. 1

Mildred Hill-Lubin [H], recently deceased UF literature professor, was interviewed by James Myers [M] in June, 2009.

This is the 51st 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.

H: I was born in an area known as Uchee Hill; now it’s Seale, Alabama.

M: What year?

H: 1933. My father’s name was Luther Anderson, and my mother was Mary B. Johnson-Anderson. My grandmother was very much a part of my family, and her name was Lizzi Johnson Lewis. 

I don’t remember my grandfather. I heard about him. He was the first Black man in that area to own an automobile. He could not buy it in Alabama. He had to go to Detroit to buy the car. They did farming. They had a great deal of timber, and—these are the rumors from my family—during Prohibition, they also made white liquor for the Kennedy family.

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Department of Doing fails to support neighborhoods

by Janice Garry

Something just ain’t right. 

I don’t pretend to know everything, but I know when something just ain’t right. What’s going on in our city, specifically in the Department of Doing (silly name, I know, but that’s what it’s called), just ain’t right. 

A city that listened.

Four years ago I was involved in the city-wide revision of the Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code. Were you there? Do you remember how great it was to participate with the city? 

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Registering to vote? Florida Rights Restoration Coalition is here to help

Starting January 8, 1.4 million Floridians with completed sentences will be able to register to vote, the single-biggest enfranchisement of voting rights since passage of the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

If you or a loved one are planning to register, make sure to connect with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) on Facebook and at https://floridarrc.com/. They successfully passed Amendment 4 to automatically restore the rights of 1.4 million returning citizens. They are led by directly impacted people, and will stand up for your rights.

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Petition for expansion of Medicaid in Florida

After the success of Amendment 4 giving ex-felons the right to vote, it is time to remedy another Florida injustice, the inability of low income Floridians to obtain health insurance coverage.  At present no adult without dependent children can obtain Medicaid insurance coverage.  Those with dependent children can get it if their income is less than 33 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, amounting to $6857 for a family of three. About 400,000 people are in this coverage gap.

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An African American history of Alachua County with author/historian Lizzie P.R.B. Jenkins

When: Thursday, February 7, 6pm 

Where: Matheson History Museum

Admission: Free, pre-registration required.

We are honored to welcome author and historian Lizzie P.R.B. Jenkins on Thursday, Feb. 7, to share about the storied history of African Americans in Alachua County. 

Alachua County’s African American ancestry contributed significantly to the area’s history. Once enslaved pioneers Richard and Juliann Sams settled in Archer as early as 1839. They were former slaves of James M. Parchman, who journeyed through the wilderness from Parchman, Mississippi. They and others shaped the county’s history through inventions, education, and a work ethic based on spirituality. 

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Changeville

When: Feb. 7-8

Changeville is a two-day social change festival to be held on Feb. 7-8, in partnership with the UF College of Journalism and Communications annual frank conference in downtown Gainesville. It brings together students, professionals and local and national artists from a variety of platforms, united by a passion for social change. The festival includes music, comedy, award-winning films, tech, poetry and discussion panels/workshops.

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City elections coming up in March

by Joe Courter

We will have more next issue for sure, but be aware there will be a City of Gainesville election on March 19. 

This will be for District 4, currently held by Adrian Hayes-Santos, who at press time is unopposed, and for the office of Mayor, currently held by Lauren Poe, who has already drawn two opponents. They are Jenn Powell, a progressive grassroots candidate who in prior years was a bigtime Bernie Sanders supporter and also recently ran against Helen Warren, and a total newcomer and self-described conservative Jennifer Reid. 

The candidate filing deadline will be at the end of January, so others may jump in, and the picture will be clearer when we next print at the end of February.

Alachua County launches Second Solar Cooperative

by League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters – Gainesville/Alachua County is excited to announce our second solar cooperative. Alachua County residents and business owners are forming the cooperative to save money and make going solar easier, while building a network of solar supporters.

Alachua County residents interested in joining the co-op can sign up as a member at the Cooperative web page: www.solarunitedneighbors.org/alachua. The solar co-op is free to join and joining is not a commitment to purchase panels. Once the group is large enough, Solar United Neighbors will help the co-op solicit competitive bids from area solar installers.

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How Florida can legalize cannabis in 2020

by Chris Kennard

Floridians For Freedom (FFF) is a statewide non-partisan volunteer group of committed citizens intent upon legalizing cannabis in Florida.

We can collect one million petitions we need by January of 2020, to turn in to the State of Florida to verify, and thereby create, approve and enact our own legal-cannabis law. 

Fully legalizing personal use cannabis and hemp crop cultivation and economic opportunities has broad support, here and around the country. This move helps to heal America by ending an open sore infecting our nation for over 100 years, beginning with racial and regional prejudices against Mexican-American and Black citizens.

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From the publisher … People get ready

by Joe Courter

There is a weird irony that I begin writing this on the day Governor DeSantis is sworn in, as I wrote the last publisher’s note when that race, and, as well, the races for Senate and Ag Commissioner, were still undecided and in recounts. Well thankfully Nikki Fried got in, but the fact of Rick Scott being Senator and that close, close loss by Andrew Gillum really hurts.  

I listened to DeSantis’s speech and sadly thought how different it could have been with a Gov. Gillum. Worst is the prospect of the huge change in the State Supreme Court where three liberal justices will be replaced by conservatives due to term limits. We here in Florida had better be ready to organize, because they will be coming after legal abortion, union organizing rights, immigrant rights, public schools, you name it. 

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