Quitting tobacco isn’t easy, finding help should be

If you are ready to quit, join our next Tools to Quit Tobacco group on Tuesday, May 7 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at Newberry Branch Library or Thursday, May 9 from 6 to 8 pm at The Cancer Center of North Florida Regional Medical Center. 

This free one time, two-hour group will give you tips on how to deal with triggers, withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapse. You will also receive up to four weeks of free nicotine patches, gum or lozenges. 

This group more than doubles your chance of quitting for good. Pre-registration is required. Call 866-341-2730 to reserve your spot.

Fight Toxic Prisons Convergence coming to Gainesville

The 2019 Fight Toxic Prisons Convergence is taking place June 14-17 in Gainesville and will include speakers, panels, workshops, protests and cultural activities exploring the intersections of anti-prison and environmental struggles. 

The Convergence is always free, they just ask for a sliding scale donation ($25 – $50) to help cover costs, primarily to provide assistance with transportation, food and housing to make the event broadly accessible to people hit hardest by repression, criminalization and toxicity. 

For more information, check out fighttoxicprisons.org and http://www.gainesvilleiguana.org/2019/articles/fight-toxic-prisons-convergence-coming-to-gainesville-in-june/. 

From the publisher … Disconnected not divided

by Joe Courter

There is much talk about this country being so severely divided, and anyone who bothers at all to engage in what used to be the much more fun practice of talking politics with friends and family can get this feeling. Our technology has provided so many options and points of view to draw from that many people are stuck inside their information silo and constrained from finding common ground with others and prioritizing what is important. Misconceptions, bogus belief systems and questions of source credibility muddy the waters of meaningful communication.

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, in her talk at the Students for Justice in Palestine fashion show at UF a couple of weekends ago, used the phrase that is the title of this column, crediting a minister in her hometown of Detroit for using it to describe our society. Divided is a term that implies a permanence, dare I say it, like a wall. As if there is an inherent barrier to solution. Disconnected is different. And we are in a society that has become disconnected from others within our shared environs. It is a world of economic segregation, and a world where irresponsible leaders will, whether from the pulpit or the podium, spew moral judgment and fear-mongering against others. 

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Adjunct faculty organize at Santa Fe College

by Glynn Hayes

The part-time contingent faculty at Santa Fe College recently filed with the Florida Government for the right to hold an election on forming a union that could democratically represent, bargain for, and protect this group of professors. Indeed, part-time faculty in many of the colleges in Florida have filed for and won elections to form unions (the latest is Miami-Dade College).

The administration of Santa Fe is now seeking to block this right to vote for and decide for ourselves if we wish to form a union. The administration has stated that it is best if there are no entities in between the faculty and themselves. They have blocked us by hiring an OUTSIDE law firm to contest our right to vote. 

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The case for sanctuary

by Liz Ibarrola, Director of Immigration Concerns, Human Rights Coalition, Alachua County

On Wednesday April 24, Westminster Presbyterian Church welcomed Saoud Al-Ammari into sanctuary. The act, one with deep history and religious significance, is supported by a network of allies, organized under the auspices of the Human Rights Coalition of Alachua County. Those allies choose to support Saoud and Westminster because they share a fundamental belief that our community should be, and can be, a place where all people enjoy equal rights and are treated with equal dignity. 

Saoud entered sanctuary because his life is in danger. Having lost his student visa in recent weeks and with an ICE detainer hanging over his head, he knows that he could be removed to his home country, Qatar, at any time. While the Obama administration began the trend of indiscriminate deportations, this policy has been accelerated under the Trump White House, and immigrants without secure legal status are being deported under expedited procedures. The process from arrest to deportation can take place in a few days.

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Strong coalition forming around renters’ rights

by Sheila Payne, Jason Fults, Jesse Cosmee, James Thompson—ACLC Renters’ Rights Committee

Activists representing a broad informal coalition of renters’ rights advocates packed a Gainesville City Commission Rental Housing Subcommittee meeting with about forty people on April 16. 

About seven corporate landlord representatives attended. Those who spoke in favor of renters’ rights issues were in the same ratio. 

The Subcommittee working on this issue – Chair David Arreola and his fellow Commissioners Helen Warren and Adrian Hayes-Santos attended – drew from the energy in that room. Each elected official engaged directly with us. 

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May-June 2019 Gainesville Iguana

The May-June 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.

Book launch/signing to feature author Jenny Brown

National Women’s Liberation, in cooperation with Redstockings, is proud announce the publication of Birth Strike: The Hidden Fight over Women’s Work

Author Jenny Brown is coming to Gainesville for two official events, on Friday, April 26, there will be a celebration/book launch party at the Civic Media Center from 7:30 to 9:30pm, and then at Third House Books on Friday, May 3, for a talk and signing. Books will be available at both events.

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Fight Toxic Prisons Convergence coming to Gainesville in June

by Panagioti Tsolkas

This June, between June 14-17, Gainesville will be home to the fourth annual national gathering of a growing movement aimed at merging environmental justice and prison abolition into a unified force for shaping the world to come. In previous years, the Fight Toxic Prisons (FTP) Convergence succeeded in drawing several hundred participants from across the country. Previous locations included Washington DC, Texas and Pennsylvania.

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History and the people who make it: David Horne

David Horne [H], co-founder of the UF Black Student Union, was interviewed by Ryan Morini [M] in November, 2017.

This is the 52nd 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.

M: You were here during the founding of the Black Student Union. What led up to founding it?

H: My colleagues, and I, kept up with what was going on elsewhere in terms of Cornell students trying to get the Cornell administration to accept a Black Studies department, and Columbia, and San Francisco State; combating this tendency to teach all history was basically White history, the history of Western civilization. And that old adage that African history should not be taught because Africa was darkness, and darkness could not be history. We decided that at UF we had enough of a student population to have a Black Student Union. So we just formed one. About ten of us got together to fill out the application to be a student organization.

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Gainesville May Day 2019: Celebrating the working class

by the Gainesville chapter of Industrial Workers of the World

What: May Day Celebration March and Teach-In
When: Wednesday, May 1, 5pm (March) and 6pm (Teach-In)
Where: Civic Media Center and Alachua County Public Library

For 132 years — since 1887, one year following the 1886 Haymarket Affair in Chicago and the Bay View Massacre in Milwaukee, when twelve striking workers were martyred in the struggle for the 8-hour work day — the 1st of May has been a day set aside to celebrate the struggles and contributions of working people. 

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Protect sex workers, respect voluntary sex work

by Sam Bam

Social media has replaced the diary, the bulletin board, the alt weeklies. It has given us the ability to broadcast to the world. We’ve all heard the warnings about sharing too much, but not many discuss what happens when the government chooses to censor you, to erase your online existence. 

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Florida legislative update: Bills to watch

by Jeremiah Tattersall, Florida AFL-CIO – North Central Florida Central Labor Council

This is an incomplete list of bills to watch this legislative session. Contact Senator Perry at 352-264-4040 to make your opinion on these bills heard. 

Anti-Collective Bargaining  – HB 13 by Williamson limits the ability for public sector unions to represent their members by curtailing the activites union officials can engage in. 

Workers’ Compensation – SB 1636 by Perry / HB 1399 by Byrd drastically hurts workers who have been injured on the job. In 2003 the legislature radically altered Florida’s workers’ comp system by slashing benefits and capping attorney fees in an attempt to restrict the working class’ access to the courts. The Florida Supreme Court ruled that this cap on fees was unconstitutional and this bill attempts to graze the already low bar of unconstitutionality.

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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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