At least 40 people protested at the Publix at the corner of University Avenue and 34th Street as part of Farmworker Awareness Week. Photo by Phil Kellerman.
by Richard K. MacMaster
One week in early Spring, we remind ourselves that we depend on the farm workers who plant and harvest the fruits and vegetables we eat every day of the year. Theirs is the most hazardous, worst paid, and most essential job in the United States. Over the past century, natives and immigrants—Bahamans, African Americans, Appalachian whites, Jamaicans, Mexicans, Haitians, Guatemalans and Salvadorans—have followed the harvest from South Florida to Michigan, living and working in oppressive conditions, not infrequently held in debt peonage or slavery by labor contractors.
Farm workers have made remarkable gains in the last few years. The Fair Food Agreement negotiated by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers with 95 percent of Florida tomato growers and a long list of big tomato buyers is one outstanding example. Buyers and growers agreed to an extra penny a pound for the workers and better working conditions, including an end to sexual harassment. But these real gains are fragile, as long as some growers and some buyers refuse to sign. Within the past year, Trader Joe’s and Chipotle signed the agreement, but Publix and Wendy’s still refuse to even talk with farm worker delegations.
by Joe Courter
With early voting already in progress, the Iguana strongly endorses Craig Lowe for Mayor of Gainesville, and encourages support for his campaign in getting out the vote. Craig is part of a team of forward-looking individuals on the Commission, and, while not a gifted public speaker and encumbered by the fallout of a recent DUI arrest when he dozed off behind the wheel and ran off the road, all this pales compared to his opponent Ed Braddy, a right-wing talk radio jock with his own DUI history (a 2006 accident where he blew a .18—double the legal limit). According to other Commissioners who served with Braddy his first time around, he was very bad on civil rights and homelessness issues, slack on attendance, and generally difficult to work with, both with fellow commissioners and staff. This isn’t just the Iguana talking; in a recent letter to the Gainesville Sun, 19 (nineteen!) present and former elected officials sent in a letter endorsing Craig Lowe. This is the opening paragraph:
“As mayors, city commissioners, county commissioners, legislators and school board members who have served collectively more than 150 years in office, we recognize that like most normal people, neither of our current candidates for mayor is without flaws. Both have violated the law, and both have apologized and accepted the consequences the legal system has assigned. The difference is that Mayor Craig Lowe has been an active advocate for the positive efforts of the City of Gainesville for the past decade, and Ed Braddy has been a relentless, inflammatory, and often dishonest critic.”
You can read the full letter here.
As mayors, city commissioners, county commissioners, legislators and school board members who have served collectively more than 150 years in office, we recognize that like most normal people, neither of our current candidates for mayor is without flaws. Both have violated the law, and both have apologized and accepted the consequences the legal system has assigned. The difference is that Mayor Craig Lowe has been an active advocate for the positive efforts of the City of Gainesville for the past decade, and Ed Braddy has been a relentless, inflammatory, and often dishonest critic.
The Gainesville Council for Economic Outreach lists dozens of different honors that have been granted to our community:
#1 in North America in Fodor’s “Places Rated and Ranked.” (2007)
#1 College Town by Livability.com. (2010)
“Best commute times in Florida” and #19 in the nation. (U.S. Census 2012)
Gainesville Veterans for Peace invited all students, K-12, in Alachua County to submit one poem on the subject of peace. Out of hundreds of entries, winners are selected by a panel of graduate students from the English Department at the University of Florida.
Winners are invited to read their poems aloud at the public reading on May 11 at 2:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville (4225 NW 34th Street) and are also published in the 2013 Peace Poetry book. 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive a gift certificate to Book Gallery West in Gainesville. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of the Florida Museum of Natural History Earth Day observance on Saturday, April 20, Springs Eternal and Finding the Fountain of Youth exhibit principals John Moran, Lesley Gamble and Rick Kilby will participate in a panel discussion to be moderated by journalist and author Cynthia Barnett.
There is no charge to attend the event and the exhibits are open to the public. The panel discussion begins at 11 a.m. Barnett is the author of Blue Revolution: Unmaking America’s Water Crisis, which was named on of the top 10 science books of 2011 by The Boston Globe.
The Springs Eternal: Florida’s Fragile Fountains of Youth exhibit is a 30-year retrospective of Florida nature photographer John Moran’s love affair with the springs of Florida. The exhibit mixes stirring text with dramatic then-and-now pairings of photos, showing the changes to our springs that many of us have seen. The project channels joy and beauty and grief and anger and is a sobering wake-up call for every Floridian who uses water. Plus the exhibit features a very cool and dramatic 60-foot-wide backlit translucent clerestory window photo of a pair of manatees at Crystal River.
The exhibits run through Dec. 15. The Florida Museum of Natural History is located in the University of Florida Cultural Plaza off SW 34th St. and is open six days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1-5 p.m D.
by Joe Courter
What follows is not meant to offend anyone, or anyone’s belief system, but I have reached a point where I need to say it. The topic is religion, and in particular, religious intolerance. It could have been a number of things to set me off on this, as I have a lifetime of being an atheist/humanist. My skepticism began early when I was told little kids my age in Africa who never heard of this “all knowing” God would go to hell when they died, simply because they, well hadn’t heard. That did not compute. Then seeing my Protestant neighbors eat meat on Fridays and skip church in the summer while we couldn’t as Catholics—that made no sense either. And on and on…
But what got me was Iraq 2013 and the continued killing in the aftermath of the war the U.S. launched. Before the U.S. invaded, Iraq, though saddled by an authoritarian strongman, was a highly functioning society, Sunni and Shia co-existed, intermarried, lived in mixed neighborhoods. By regional standards it was way ahead on education and women’s rights. The aftermath of the invasion of Iraq in 2003 unleashed sectarian killing, and it was one day, one report, that just made me scream. “ENOUGH!! It is madness!”
But oh it runs deep in the human animal, that tribalistic desire to divide into “we” and “they,” and nothing greases the skids on intolerance like fundamentalist religion You would think we humans, with all our science and knowledge, could move beyond it to a deeper understanding and perspective, but old ways die hard.
The Civic Media Center first opened its doors on Oct. 18, 1993—a date coinciding with a speaking engagement by Noam Chomsky at UF, and a couple of roundtable discussions with Chomsky were our first events on that afternoon. Ten years later, the CMC brought Chomsky back to Gainesville and co-sponsored a talk by him at the O’Connell Center attended by over 6,000 people.
Well, it’s ten years later, and guess what? The CMC will be helping bring Professor Chomsky back again. If all goes according to plan, the talk will be again at the O’Connell Center on Wednesday, Oct. 16. And obviously, more information to come.
To read an interesting take on Chomsky, check out Glenn Greenwald’s piece in the Guardian from March 23 – “How Noam Chomsky is discussed”
Stephanie Seguin, National Women’s Liberation leader and Tummino v. Hamburg plaintiff, delivers a press statement at the FDA headquarters in January 2005. Photo courtesy of National Women’s Liberation.
by National Women’s Liberation
On April 5, a U.S. federal judge in Tummino et al. v. Hamburg ordered that the Morning-After Pill be made available “without a prescription and without point-of-sale or age restrictions within thirty days.”
Until the court’s ruling today, emergency contraception was kept behind a pharmacy counter, only available without a prescription for women 17 and older, forcing all women to prove their age to buy it. With this court ruling, the Morning-After Pill can be stocked on any shelf in any store, right next to the condoms, aspirin, or shampoo. No prescription or identification will be needed to buy it.
The Morning-After Pill (also known as Plan B One-StepTM, Next Choice®, or “emergency contraception”) works to prevent pregnancy up to five days after sex, however it is most effective within the first 24 hours. The Morning-After Pill (MAP) is not the same thing as RU-486, which induces an abortion. If you are pregnant, the Morning-After Pill will not work. (For more on how the Morning-After Pill works, go to www.not-2-late.com.)
Check out our near-comprehensive calendar for Gainesville and surrounding areas here: April 2013 Iguana Calendar
Want to submit an event to the Iguana Community Calendar? Email email@example.com.
Can’t get into town for the print Iguana? Or did you make it to the box a little late this month?
Well, don’t worry! We have the whole April 2013 issue here for your perusal.