News from the Civic Media Center

by Joe Courter

The Civic Media Center thanks JoJo Sacks for being the steady rock and creative spirit that rode the responsibility of the Civic Media Center valiantly through the Covid period of “what the hell are we gonna do” doubts. Her creativity with taking advantage of the new options social media offers, new ways of donating like Venmo and PayPal, all coupled with this community’s generosity when those stimulus checks rolled in, kept us afloat.

And then as things began to open up, JoJo resumed volunteer meetings and drew a vibrant pool of mostly new people attracted to the concepts and ongoing projects like Free Grocery Store (many had never been to a CMC event!). 

And now we have begun to slowly and safely host events, showing films, having meetings, poetry, and music. JoJo isn’t leaving; she has a job with Santa Fe College heading their LGBTQ Center and will be helping train the new CMC coordinator Chris. 

Events coming up include the regular Poetry Jam Thursday evenings at 8pm, the Old time and Traditional music jam is every 4th Sunday from 5-8pm in the Courtyard. Volunteer meetings are on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays at 5:30, and a showing of Cabaret is on Saturday, July 16. 

Watch the Facebook page as new events get scheduled, and sign up for email updates at the website: We have a cool little video there.

We’re excited to welcome Chris to the CMC. Below are some words of introduction in their own words:

I’m Chris Overley, the new coordinator at the Civic Media Center. Last year, I moved from Las Vegas to Gainesville as an aspiring biologist with no idea what to expect. 

Coming from the urban desert, Gainesville was a completely new experience for me. Over the course of my first year here, things changed a lot, and I learned there is so much more to this wonderful town than first meets the eye. 

I got involved with the Civic Media Center and was amazed by all the real, grounding work they do there. 

Then the coordinator position opened up. I privately felt like a perfect fit — fundraising, educational programming, and event planning were my whole thing while managing the environmental nonprofit Southern Nevada Conservancy. I applied, and now it’s official!

Talking with everyone involved at the CMC is so enlightening, and I love engaging with all the different perspectives people bring to their work. 

I feel like so much good has been done in terms of community outreach and education, mutual aid, and making space for community and healing in a world that wants to drain us. 

I am energized by the work being done for prison abolition, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, and all matters of bodily autonomy. 

I am inspired by Free Grocery Store and Free Store and all efforts to create self-sustaining communities in Gainesville. 

Moving forward I hope to involve more Black voices, more Indigenous voices, more immigrant voices, and more disabled voices in the CMC’s efforts. I look forward to continuing support for the organizations already in community with the CMC, as well as building new bridges to all the people we have yet to reach.

PLEASE NOTE: This hiring process means a double payroll for a few weeks as JoJo helps train and orient Chris, so any celebratory expressions of financial gratitude would be welcome. Old School with checks to CMC, 433 S. Main St., Gainesville, 32601, or using electronic methods, you may donate on Venmo @CMC4ever or

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