January/February 2024 Gainesville Iguana

The January/February 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.

Roller Rebels looking for tenants to support practice space

by Polly Cline (AKA Sic O. Spellcheck)

Ask anyone who’s lived in Gainesville for ten or fifteen years — a lot has changed. 

One element of Gainesville that’s remained constant since 2007: the Gainesville Roller Rebels (GRR), Gainesville’s local, not-for-profit, skater- and volunteer-run roller derby league. 

Since roller derby’s mid-aughts revival, GRR has brought athleticism, empowerment, and inclusion to the Gainesville community. After our 2023 season, we’re stronger than ever with 27 new league members, sponsorships from a number of local businesses, and standing room only games. 

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History and the people who make it: Scott Camil (Part 3)

This month, we continue highlighting a Gainesville activist, veteran, honored hero, and friend of SPOHP, Scott Camil. Scott is a member of the Gainesville Eight: the group of seven Vietnam War veterans and one civilian who were caught in a conspiracy by the FBI, who attempted to frame them for terroristic threats. 

In this 2005 interview with John Aversono (A), Camil (C) shares about his upbringing, his time in the Marine Corps from training to combat, and how he became an antiwar activist. Be advised that there is profanity and graphic descriptions of war. 

Transcript edited by Donovan Carter. 

A: Once you got back to the States, what did you do?

C: I reported back to Camp Lejeune, to India Battery, 3rd Battalion, 10th Marines. I became a platoon sergeant, [a] senior NCO. My job is to wake people up, make sure the barracks are cleaned, get them their chow, have them at morning formation, make sure everybody is here, find what they are supposed to do for the day and get them off to do that. 

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Volunteer with the Alachua County Crisis Center

The Alachua County Crisis Center is currently recruiting volunteers to answer our local crisis hotline, as well as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 

The Alachua County Crisis Center provides free and confidential crisis response services to Gainesville and the surrounding community, almost all of which are provided by highly trained volunteers. 

Volunteering with the Crisis Center is a great way to support our community and those in need, while also learning valuable communication skills you can use for the rest of your life.  

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‘Dump the Dump!’ 

Southeast Gainesville residents continue to demand

by Suzmiché Morris

At a Jan. 3 press conference organized outside the Alachua County Administration Building, a coalition of southeast Gainesville residents was joined by supporters from the local NAACP and Sierra Club chapters to encourage their neighbors from the Kincaid Loop/Boulware Springs neighborhood to continue their struggle to permanently close the Florence Construction and Demolition Debris Landfill. Residents have organized around public health and environmental concerns regarding land use and the quality of the community’s groundwater and air. The landfill is within 400 feet of the working-class neighborhoods with their many homes, churches, farms, nature parks, and schools.

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Don’t dump the dump!

by Richard Hamann, Environmental Law researcher

I support the permit modification that would allow Florence Recycling to fill space on the existing footprint of Construction and Demolition Debris Disposal Facility to a higher elevation than is currently authorized. 

The Florence family has operated this facility for many years with no adverse effects on the environment or the surrounding community. As someone who has lived on property adjacent to the SE corner of the landfill site since 1983, I can make that statement based on personal observation. 

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Veterans for Peace 10th Annual College Scholarship Program for Alachua County Students

Deadline for Submitting Application, Friday, April 15, 2024

Gainesville Veterans for Peace Chapter 14 is excited to announce our 10th annual Peace Scholarship Program for the spring of 2024. We will be awarding three $1,500 each for high school seniors, college students or adults. Recipients must demonstrate commitment to one or more social justice activities which may include: peace and nonviolence, intersectional coalition building, Black Lives Matter, women’s reproductive freedom, environmental sustainability, economic justice, education, and social change.

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Women’s History Month Brunch, March 9

The Democratic Women’s Club of Alachua County will be holding the 9 th annual Women’s History Month Brunch on Saturday, March 9, from 10 am-12 noon. The speakers will be Pat McCullough, the campaign manager for Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan, and other well-known Democrats.

We have invited and hope to have Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Florida State Senator from Miami-Dade County and candidate challenging Senator Rick Scott, as our keynote speaker.

Brunch will be held at the Best Western Gateway Grand in Gainesville.

Sponsorships and candidate tables are available. Cost will be $75 per person or $525 for an 8-person table. Reservations must be made by March 4. Seating is limited. Contact Treasurer Dee Williams(ddw@eastpassage.us) for reservations and more information. 

The symphony of our democracy 

The  League of Women Voters promotes and protects women’s voices needed to maintain representative balance

By Stefanie Gadalean 

The grand experiment of American democracy can be compared to that of a symphony: they both rely on a harmony of diverse melodies to uplift the full potential of their respective masterpieces. Each citizen’s contribution to the democratic orchestra, akin to an instrumental note, plays a crucial role in creating representative governance. Comparable to how a diverse ensemble is needed to achieve true harmony, our nation thrives off the cooperation of multiple perspectives to achieve a country for the people and by the people. 

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‘Unity in education: A resolve for equality’

 by Tina Certain, District 1 Alachua County School Board Member

As we begin this new year, I stand before you, not just as a school board member but as a member of our community, with a resolute spirit to foster unity and optimism for our educational future.

The legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us of the ongoing fight for equality. In our schools, we face disparities that persist—segregated systems and unequal opportunities. It’s time to ensure that a student’s zip code or race never dictates their access to quality education.

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From the publisher… Looking ahead

by Joe Courter

Entering a new year, there are all sorts of retrospectives produced, and indeed there are a few within these pages. But I want to look ahead at the coming year and its challenges.

I started making a list of the things I see ahead — pivotal important issues. My list included the horrible ongoing armed conflicts, the ever obvious climate dysfunction, and the danger of information technology further aiding those with no regard for truth to create false narratives and bogus information. 

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Local activists work to meet, exceed state reqs in campaign to put abortion rights on 2024 ballot

By Alex Leader and Beth H., National Women’s Liberation, Gainesville

Thank you for helping to put abortion rights on the ballot, Alachua County!

The following organizations and individuals are being recognized to celebrate their leadership, but also to encourage Iguana readers to join up with these organizations in the fight that still lies ahead to place protection for abortion rights in Florida on the November 2024 ballot through a voter ballot initiative. If successful, this voter initiative will win a state constitutional amendment to protect and expand abortion rights. 

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The precipitous decline of Florida Blue Key 

How a once-powerful UF leadership honorary society resorted to extracting $1,000,000+ in tuition money

By Rey Arcenas

It is an open secret that Florida Blue Key controls the student government of the University of Florida. Over the course of their one hundred year grip on power, they’ve been associated with petty corruption scandals such as throwing out thousands of copies of newspapers with negative headlines, slashing tires, and pouring sugar in their opponents’ gas tanks. Nevertheless, Florida Blue Key celebrates a long list of influential politicians that stretches decades across political lines: Spessard Holland, Fuller Warren, Bob Graham, Lawton Chiles, Buddy MacKay, and Adam Putnam among others. 

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Gainesville stands with Palestine

by the Gainesville pod of Jewish Voice for Peace, Gainesville Radical Reproductive Rights Network, and the Gainesville pre-branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation

The tragic events of Oct. 7 brought international attention to the ongoing genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. Israel’s war has spurred mass movement for Palestinian self-determination, in Gainesville and around the world.

Since October, Gainesville communities have organized over 20 events in solidarity with Palestine, sponsored by local organizations including the University of Florida chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, Gainesville Solidarity Network, both the UF and newly formed Gainesville pods of Jewish Voice for Peace, Veterans for Peace, Gainesville Radical Reproductive Rights Network, UF Central American Latin Organization, and the Gainesville pre-branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

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Florida Clears Hurdle to Vote on Abortion Amendment. What’s next?

This article was written by Gainesville-based reproductive rights activists working on the abortion petition initiative.

Floridians Protecting Freedom (FPF), the sponsor of the Amendment to Limit Government Interference with Abortion has submitted almost 1.5 million petitions to Florida Supervisors of Elections. At the time of writing, more than 911,619 petitions have been verified statewide, and 17 Congressional districts have met the required total of verified petitions equaling 8% the number of votes cast in the 2020 presidential election. That means we’ve cleared the biggest hurdle to put a constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights on the ballot in Florida in 2024! Now we need your help to get over the finish line!

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Editors’ picks: News that didn’t fit

2023 Roundup: 13 must-read Florida stories
Journalists salute their hard-working peers who told the critical stories of the past year
by the Marjorie Team | The Marjorie | Dec. 20 | tinyurl.com/Iguana1788

A ‘major win’ for PEN America, publishers, and parents in book ban lawsuit
Lawsuit challenging school’s removal of books heading to jury trial.
by Jennie McKeon | WUWF | Jan. 10 | tinyurl.com/Iguana1779

As migrants flee, Florida GOP pushes to ease child labor laws to deal with shortage of workers
If Republicans have their way, 16- and 17-year-olds may soon be working the overnight shift at McDonald’s
by Charles Jay | Daily Kos | Dec. 18 | tinyurl.com/Iguana1780

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You’re invited, Dec. 3: CMC turns 30!

by Joe Courter

We had postponed the marking of the Civic Media Center’s 30th birthday back on Oct. 18 because, frankly, October had big events every dang weekend. As an active part of the CMC all these years, and well aware of the date, I have, however, been flooded with memories and reflections on the last three decades as we lead up to our Dec. 3 celebration.

Regardless of when in that entire span, we were and are a hub of progressive minded people looking for connection and purpose beyond their regular lives. These people, meeting and working together, showing up to staff, helping organize events, or even just coming to the events as audience or performer, they got to be in a volunteer-run, community-supported, overtly politically conscious, audacious space. Some dabbled around the edges, but nonetheless had a spark of awareness, of inspiration land on them.

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Meet the author event in honor of World AIDS Day

In honor of World AIDS Day (Friday, Dec. 1), join author Margaret Galvan in conversation with UF professor Kenneth Kidd at 6:30pm at Third  House Books, as they talk about photographer Nan Goldin’s HIV/AIDS activism that Galvan writes about in her new book, In Visible Archives: Queer and Feminist Visual Culture in the 1980s

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Conditions ‘intolerable’ at Baker County Detention Center 

Detained and degraded with taxpayers’ dollars

by Pierce Butler

The US Dept of Homeland Security continues to hold Latinx immigrants at the Baker County Detention Center in Macclenny, FL, and the American Civil Liberties Union, after filing multiple complaints on behalf of the detainees, continues to find their conditions intolerable:

  • Medical care denied, including blocking medication for a woman who suffered an epidemic seizure at BCDC;
  • Inedible food, dirty and stinky clothing and bedding (which has caused numerous infections);
  • Beatings, pepper sprayings, racial slurs, excessive use of solitary confinement, voyeurism on female detainees; and
  • Blocking access to lawyers and visitors.
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Rest in Power, Paul L. Doughty

Paul Larrabee Doughty, an Emeritus Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Florida and recipient of the Malinowski Award from Society of Applied Anthropology, passed away Sept. 27, at the age of 93, while under hospice care in Gainesville.

Born on Feb. 27, 1930, in Beacon, New York, Paul led a remarkable life that left an indelible mark on countless individuals and communities. From a young age, Paul’s love for sports, fishing, and scouting ignited his adventurous spirit. He explored the picturesque Mount Beacon and scoured the area’s creeks and empty lots for scrap metal to support the USA’s World War II effort. Paul’s formative years were spent at Oakwood Friends School, where he graduated in 1948. Little did he know that his experiences at this Quaker-based institution would shape one of the defining chapters of his life.

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