Category Archives: November-December 2015

Support the Civic Media Center!

The CMC had a crazy but good month of October. Having the founding anniversary on Oct. 18 every year locks it into doing something special, and this year was an outdoor dinner celebration at the First Magnitude Brewing Company. Between great raffle items and a great dinner prepared by CMC volunteers and Board members, it was an event that went well and can serve as a bigger and better event model for the future.

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Old Joe in Limbo

by Joe Courter

Poor old Joe, the Confederate statue. Due to a “you lead, no you lead” dance, the decision to move or not move the 111-year-old monument remains up in the air.

Would that it could be just lifted up in the air and plopped down somewhere else but the world (and physics) doesn’t work that way.

After much righteous agitation, and a large rally, and a lot of citizen input, the idea came forward from the County Commission to have people donate to the Matheson Museum in the name of moving the statue. However, no lead was taken on fundraising, some who reportedly asked about donating to the Matheson were informed by the Matheson to wait until they made their decision.

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History and the people who make it: Dezeray Lyn, Part 2

Transcript edited by Pierce Butler.

This is the 31st in a series of transcript excerpts from the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program collection at the University of Florida, continuing last month’s story.

Dezeray Lyn was interviewed by Jessica Taylor [T] and Lara Alqasem [A] in 2009.

T: In your talk at the Civic Media Center, you focused a lot on children.

L: Palestinian children are not even seen as children. They’re just thrown into this terrifying, human rights-violating and crushing prison system.

I was at a demonstration and a young Palestinian was approaching. Everybody kind of froze, he was approaching a border police Jeep —  the border police are notoriously violent and scary, even more so than the soldiers. He put his hands up and started approaching the Jeep, and turned around to show them he didn’t have a weapon and everybody was watching like, what is he doing? You would not want to approach any military person there. He got right up close to the Jeep and picked up a rock and threw it at the windshield. The soldiers arrested him. Someone told me he had a fight with his family earlier. He could’ve been shot, now he’s spending eighteen months, I believe, in Israeli prison.

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Give Florida black bears room to roam

by Sarah Hinds

I spent Saturday morning, Oct. 24, in the Ocala National Forest. My drive from Gainesville was full of thick fog and beautiful landscapes. Arriving at my volunteer post — Check Station 21 for the Florida Bear Hunt — a pileated woodpecker greeted me.

I was not there to protest, but to quietly observe, photograph and watchdog the proceedings of the day. Those were my instructions from Speak Up Wekiva, the organization that worked tirelessly to try and stop the hunt. I introduced myself to a kind young biologist from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and was soon joined by another volunteer.

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North Central Florida Central Labor Council holiday spaghetti dinner

The North Central Florida Central Labor Council will hold its annual holiday spaghetti dinner on Monday, December 14 at 6:30pm at the Alachua County Senior Center, located at 5701 NW 34th St, Gainesville, FL 32653. This yearly event is a great opportunity to meet other labor rights’ activists in the North Central Florida area and learn how to get involved in current campaigns.

This year our guest of honor and main speaker will be Congressman Alan Grayson. Please feel free to invite your friends, family, and colleagues.

Fight for $15 in Gainesville, Florida

More than 100 people gathered on Nov. 10 to join a national solidarity action with workers in the fast food and service sectors who are demanding $15 and Union Rights. Photo by Justin Dunnavant.

More than 100 people gathered on Nov. 10 to join a national solidarity action with workers in the fast food and service sectors who are demanding $15 and Union Rights. Photo by Justin Dunnavant.

by Paul Ortiz and Sheila Payne
Alachua County Labor Coalition

The Fight for $15 Movement took a major step forward on Nov. 10 in Gainesville.

More than 100 people gathered to join a national solidarity action with workers in the fast food and service sectors who are demanding “$15 & Union Rights.”

Gathering at the corner of the University of Florida, spirited groups of living wage activists chanted: “Hold the Burgers, Hold the Fries, Make our Wages Supersize!” and “We Work, We Sweat, Put $15 dollars in our Check.”

Members of Alachua County Labor Coalition, National Women’s Liberation, Gainesville Veterans For Peace, and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville waved placards, banners, and passed out “15 Reasons to Support $15” to people who stopped to talk.

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Rwanda Sustainable Families holds annual fundraiser

by Nancy Lasseter

On Friday, Dec. 4, the all volunteer-staffed non-profit Rwanda Sustainable Families (RSF) will host its 6th holiday fundraiser. Featured will be the sale of items made by the RSF — founded artisan cooperative in Rubavu, Rwanda, a silent auction of holiday gift baskets, and a raffle of Rwandan quilts. Green gift cards will be available that will gift a hen or year of school or kitchen garden to loved ones who would prefer to receive a gift that benefits the less fortunate. The evening’s events, held at the Wooly from 7–10pm, will include a performance at 8:15 by the UF Drum and Dance ensemble Agbedidi and music at 7 by the Boilin’ Oil duo.

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Two craft fairs Dec. 6 — Power District Flea and Craft Market, GLAM Craft Show

Power District Flea & Craft Market

by Michelle Koehlmoos

The P. Arts building (Power District Arts) houses various people and projects, including Sequential Artists Workshop, Green Building Cooperative (GBC), artist studios and a formative artist collective, performance space and a recording studio as well as other independent and D.I.Y. projects.

It is in the former Poole Roofing building at Depot Avenue and SE 2nd St., across from the Rosa Parks Bus station.

After a hiatus from public gatherings at the building, we re-invite the community to join us at our very first Power District Flea and Craft Market on Sunday, Dec. 6.

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Law and the Library: Adoptions and Voting Rights

by Nickie Kortus, Alachua County Library District

The Alachua County Library District is partnering with the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association to present Law in the Library: Adoptions on Monday, December 7, 6 to 7 p.m. at Headquarters Library, 401 E. University Avenue. Cynthia Swanson, a board certified adoption law attorney, will discuss different types of adoptions. She will cover step-parent Cynthia and relative adoptions, adoptions of newborns, interstate adoptions and intervening in a Florida Department of Children and Families case to adopt a child who is the subject of a dependency matter. She will talk about the requirements of home studies, notifications and consents, and help available to birth mothers in private adoptions. This presentation is free and open to the public. Registration is not required.

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AQUIFERious: Enter the Springs exhibition continues at Thomas Center Galleries

Joy in the Sun and Spring by Mark Long.

Joy in the Sun and Spring by Mark Long.

AQUIFERious: Enter the Springs, on display until January 6 at the Thomas Center Galleries, offers visitors a chance to experience amazing art and learn about protecting North Florida’s springs.

The exhibition, curated by Margaret Ross Tolbert, is based on her award-winning book of the same title. A multi-media art experience in the truest sense, the exhibition juxtaposes Tolbert’s dramatic, large-scale springs paintings and eloquent poetry with contributing artists’ and scientists’ photographs, videos, cartography and writings. Featured is the underwater photography by Jill Heinerth, Mark Long and Tom Morris, and springs maps by Eric Hutcheson, Georgia Shemitz and Jhwum-Ki-ak.

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Editors’ picks: The news that didn’t fit

‘The attacks will be spectacular’
by Chris Whipple, Politico Magazine
An exclusive look at how the Bush administration ignored this warning from the CIA months before 9/11, along with others that were far more details than previously revealed.

The Age of Dispair: Reaping the Whirlwind of Western Support for Extremist Violence
by Chris Floyd, CounterPunch

Sheldon Wolin and Inverted Totalitarianism
by Chris Hedges

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
from the United Nations

East Gainesville Science Clubs

by Nkwanda Jah

In 2011, Cultural Arts Coalition (CAC) decided we were going to do something about the low FCAT scores in East Gainesville—“No Participation, No Right to Observation”

We created 2 programs: Williams Elementary and Caring and Sharing School After School Sciences Program.

At the end of the school year, an article appeared in the Guardian Newspaper about a student at Caring and Sharing scoring the highest possible score, a 5, on the FCAT Science section. That student gave a lot of credit to our Science Program.

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Restoration of Civil Rights Project in Florida

by Ben Silva, Gator Law ACLU

In 1988, Jessica Chiappone served time in a New York state prison on non-violent drug charges. While she was incarcerated, Jessica’s civil rights were taken away, but upon her release they were automatically restored. Jessica was able to vote, hold public office and serve on a jury in her native New York. However, when she moved to Florida, those rights were taken away again. As a result, Jessica was not allowed to take the Florida Bar Exam upon graduating from Florida Coastal School of Law. This created a devastating financial hardship for her and her family.

Jessica is just one of the over 1.5 million Floridians who have lost their civil rights. Florida currently bans all convicted felons from voting, holding public office and serving on juries for life. This ban applies even if an ex-offender was not convicted in Florida. This draconian ban disenfranchises 10 percent of the entire voting-age population in Florida, and disproportionately affects African Americans (23 percent of adult African-Americans in Florida have had their civil rights taken away).

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GRACE Marketplace’s Café 131 officially opens


The dining area is named Cafe 131 in honor of Pat Fitzpatrick’s push to end the homeless meal limit in the city—previously 130 people were served, but the 131st was turned away. Photo courtesy of W McCombie Photography and Video.

by Lexi Braun, Volunteer Coordinator

Emotions were running high on Nov. 14 as the community gathered at GRACE Marketplace to help us cut the ribbon on a brand new kitchen facility many years in the making. Dedicated in honor of longtime Gainesville activist Pat Fitzpatrick, best known for his fervor in the fight to end the 130-person meal limit at St. Francis House, “Café 131” served its first meal made entirely on-site. Pat’s protest signs now adorn the walls of our dining hall that will serve about 400 meals each day.

GRACE has been serving meals since May 2014 with no equipment or kitchen staff. Thanks to the help of numerous community groups, most meals have been prepared off-site and brought to GRACE at meal times. On nights we’ve had no scheduled groups, our Advocates threw something together using only donated food heated up in a couple of crock-pots or on a barbecue grill. Volunteer groups will now be able to prepare meals in a beautiful kitchen with the help of GRACE residents.

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From the publisher: Unfortunately, there is no magic wand

joe-WEBby Joe Courter

There is no magic wand to make our electoral system work better. Technology and big money have led the way to hugely long campaigns, and sound bite battles of little or no substance. Through clever and subtle refinement made possible by a populace rendered apathetic toward acting and organizing in its own interests, a tightly controlled two-party system has been established, with the able assistance of powerful corporate interests, which include the petroleum industry, the weapons industry, the media conglomerates, the banking industry and others who, with their direct influence on elected officials, help write the laws that benefit THEIR own interests.

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November-December 2015 Gainesville Iguana

november-december 2015 web coverThe November-December 2015 issue of the Iguana is now available! If you want to get your hands on a hard copy, check out our distro locations here.