May/June 2020 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.

Support local farms, farmers markets for food security

by Anna Prizzia

Local farms and food business are on the frontline helping us during this challenging time as we manage response to COVID-19. Our food system is dynamic and critical to the resilience of our community, state and country. Local farms and food businesses are working hard to provide healthy, safe food to their consumers. Our local producers can offer fresh products while many of our national and international supply chains have been shut down by the pandemic. 

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History and the people who make it: Victoria Cóndor-Williams

Victoria Cóndor-Williams [C], Latina activist, was interviewed by Nathalia Ochoa [O] in June, 2013.

This is the 59th in a series of transcript excerpts from the UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program collection.

Transcript edited by Pierce Butler.

C: I am president of the Latina Women’s League here in Gainesville, Florida. I am an activist in the community for many years.

I’m from Lima, Peru. I came here to United State more than twenty-four years. I arrive in LA, after my trip from Germany. From there, we moved to Missouri, and I got married, and then came with my husband to Florida.

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In memoriam: RIP Terry Fleming

It was with shock that word went out about the death of Terry Fleming from a heart attack on April 28. 

Terry arrived in Gainesville in 2002 and immediately got involved in the community and helped spearhead the founding on the Pride Community Center. He became very active in the local Democratic Party, and as well became a strong advocate for the homeless, especially in recent years at Grace Marketplace. However, Terry’s work went way beyond Gainesville as a statewide activist. 

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AC Commissioner responds: why masks are required

The Alachua County Commission enacted an emergency order requiring people to wear masks when they are interacting with others in public places. Some people – such as infants and those with mental or physical conditions that make it difficult to wear masks – are exempted.

The arguments we’ve received from people who don’t want to wear masks in public are:

– masks don’t work
– you can’t tell me what to do
– if you require masks, then you have to provide them, and
– why weren’t they required earlier

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No Memorial Mile this year

by Gainesville Veterans for Peace

Gainesville’s Veterans for Peace chapter has cancelled this year’s Memorial Mile display of tombstones for U.S. troops killed in the Middle East and Central Asia, due to the continuing coronavirus crisis.

Chapter president Scott Camil told members, “We don’t know when the CoronaVirus curve will start to dissipate. We have many volunteers that are above age 60. We can’t meet in person to get the preparation work done and we can’t social distance setting up the display.”

At press time, the U.S. has lost 4,582 uniformed men and women in Iraq, and 2,448 in Afghanistan (as reported by icasualties.org). Host nation casualty numbers are not available. 

On Saturday, May 16, Vets For Peace will post videos of Alachua County school student poets reading their winning poems from the 2020 Peace Poetry Contest at the Chapter 14 website (www.vfpgainesville.org/) and Facebook page. Three $1,000 Veterans for Peace Scholarship winners will also be announced. 

Virtual Peace Poetry reading, Peace Scholarship Awards

by Gainesville Veterans for Peace

On Saturday, May 16, Veterans for Peace will post videos of Alachua County school student poets reading their winning poems from the 2020 Peace Poetry Contest at the Veterans for Peace, Chapter 14 website <http://www.vfpgainesville.org/> and Facebook page. Three Veterans for Peace Scholarship winners will also be announced. 

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Bond fund supports Alachua County Jail incarcerated

by Anya Bernhard, Gainesville Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC)

“The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”
– Fyodor Dostoevsky

The ongoing public health crisis is just the tip of the iceberg of the dysfunction and depravity within the Alachua County Jail. 

According to one article from Business Insider, it is estimated that the transmission of COVID-19 is ten times higher in jails, prisons, and detention facilities. 

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FGS delivers free food to 300+ Gainesville folks weekly

by Manuela Osorio

Gainesville is in great need. With the advent of COVID-19, many residents have been unable to access their usual sources of food. The pandemic has most significantly affected community members who were already vulnerable. Many have lost their jobs and are having difficulty affording food. Many no longer have access to transportation to grocery stores. Many are immunocompromised and cannot risk a trip to a store. 

The urgent needs of our community members are not being met by any other county agencies, so a local organization called the Free Grocery Store has stepped up. 

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From the publisher … Double whammy

by Joe Courter

We are having a double whammy within a worldwide event. What started it and who is suffering? We humans. 

Animals and plants are okay, there is no physical infrastructure to rebuild. Covid 19: our technology gave us a great head start on seeing it coming, and even a body of research to similar viruses. Unfortunately another aspect of our technology — our ability to travel by air, sea and rail — has allowed the virus to get out into and around the world.

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Coping in GVN during COVID-19 

by Joe Courter

Here we are in our holding pattern. So much of the last Iguana is still quite relevant, so if you didn’t see it you can find it at the website www.gainesvilleiguana.org.

Please support our advertisers; some are still open to serve you, others like Flashbacks and Third House have had to wait out the shut-down. (You can still order books through Third House, though.) 

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Fix Florida’s unemployment insurance system now!

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

The novel coronavirus has thrown Florida’s fragile economy into disarray, and tens of thousands of Floridians are facing sudden job losses and personal financial crises. Simply put, the State of Florida must do everything in its power to stave off the severity of an economic downturn and support working people. 

But Florida’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) system is on the front line of this economic crisis and it simply isn’t up to the task. 

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Community Immigration Mutual Aid fighting for undocumented workers, families

by Cristina Cabada Sidawi, Alachua Cty. Labor Coalition Coordinator

COVID-19 affects everyone, it does not discriminate on immigration status. Yet, relief responses by the federal government have proved to discriminate immigrants and have left them out. Over the past couple of months, all of us have experienced the debilitating consequences of the pandemic, however, we face these consequences differently. 

This pandemic has brought great stress to our community and has inflicted even greater stress to the immigrant families in our community. Many of these immigrant families have faced layoffs and some have had to continue working in conditions that are not safe. 

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New Alachua County collective: Make housing a human right

by Ashley Nguyen, Alachua County Labor Coalition Coordinator

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak upon Gainesville’s most vulnerable communities, several community members and students from the University of Florida have stepped up in efforts to alleviate the hardships brought on by these unprecedented times. 

Gainesville Houseing Justice <https://wwww.facebook.com/GNVHousingJustice/> is a collective formed when it became clear that landlords within Alachua County would not be providing the rent relief that is integral to Gainesville’s adjustment to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Coalition calls for sustainable, equitable food at UF

by Ashley Nguyen

The world’s leading experts — from the United Nations to the Lancet Medical Journal— have released studies stating that in order to avoid the worst  impacts of climate change, there needs to be a call for the world to limit greenhouse-gas intensive foods through shifts to healthier and more sustainable diets. 

These findings also come amidst growing climate protests led by young people across the country and the world demanding stronger action on climate change. 

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Civic Media Center SpringBoard postponed

It had all come together so well, the date, the speaker, the place. We were in the midst of planning the food when the Coronavirus invaded like little alien ships attacking the humans of Earth. So we had to postpone SpringBoard. And, as well, the CMC has had to postpone all events except the Free Groceries on Tuesdays.

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A call to prevent coronavirus from entering the county jail

Freedom from Cages is a Public Health Issue: Legal Experts, Healthcare Professionals, and Local Activists Urge Action to Immediately Decrease Alachua Jail Population In Order to Save Lives Amid COVID-19 Crisis.

We, the undersigned organizations and Commissioners, urge the State Attorney’s Office, the Eighth Judicial Circuit Judges, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, and law enforcement across Alachua County to significantly reduce the incarcerated population.

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History and the people who make it: Byllye Avery – Part 2

Byllye Avery [BA], feminist health activist, was interviewed by Deidre Houchen [H] in May, 2012.

This is the second part of this interview, and 58th in a series of transcript excerpts from the UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program collection.

Transcript edited by Pierce Butler.

H: How long were you in Atlanta?

BA: About fifteen, sixteen years. It was wonderful. Moving to Atlanta was just incredible.

H: What year was that?

BA: 1981. When I moved to Atlanta, I knew I had to organize Black Women’s Health Project. 

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Earth Day turns 50: yesterday, today and tomorrow

by Carol Mosley

Earth Day, as we know it, was first celebrated in the U.S. in 1970 and brought millions across the globe out of classrooms and work places into the streets to bring environmental concerns to the forefront.

This year on April 22nd Earth Day will turn 50 years old. We’ve come a long way over the decades in some areas, but have lost ground in others, such as species decline, and we have a long way yet to go.

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Remembering Granny

by Joe Courter

Most people simply knew her as Granny, a tall skinny older woman who had lived on the streets of downtown Gainesville for many years. All of us were shocked, after not seeing her around for a few weeks, to learn she had been killed while on her bicycle on January 30. As it was a hit and run, and she had no family to notify, word did not get out until March 2 when the police ran her picture in the paper trying to track down the hit and run driver who had killed her.

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