Category Archives: September 2015

Introducing UF Radical Student Alliance

rsaUF Radical Student Alliance is a multi-issue activist organization that is united around combating all forms of systematic oppression. Formed in the summer of 2015, we strive to uplift and concretely address the material needs of those most stifled by institutional violence and neglect, with an emphasis on a radical lens in order to fundamentally reshape society by addressing the root issues rather than simply producing band-aid solutions. With this in mind, we work for the liberation of all marginalized groups, regardless of class, race, ethnicity, abledness, gender, or sexual orientation. New students and the Gainesville community are welcome to come out to learn more or get involved at meetings, which are held weekly at 6:30 PM Wednesday on the UF campus.

Upcoming events will include discussing the impact of capitalism on society and deciding on this semester’s social justice campaign.

If you are interested in finding out more about UF Radical Student Alliance, you can email them at, or visit their facebook page at:

Activist/progressive organizations holding networking/recruiting fair

rad rushThe Civic Media Center has organized Radical Rush since 1998. Radical Rush is an organizational fair for progressive and radical activist groups of Gainesville to recruit new members and publicize their work to students. Radical as in getting to the root of problems, Rush meaning entertaining bids for membership. The Rush is presented in the form of a collaborative tabling effort. Campus and community-based groups participate, with the added bonus of helping to bridge the “town/gown” divide and allow activists working on a wide variety of issues to meet each other, network, and learn about each other’s organizations.

Radical Rush also helps break through the generation gap, fostering inter-generational collaboration as students and younger activists are introduced to older, seasoned organizers for a wide variety of causes. Anyone interested in learning about progressive social change and/or becoming more active in the community has the opportunity to talk with members about their organizations.

This year’s Radical Rush will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 14, in the Oak Grove at Santa Fe College, and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 16–17, on the Plaza of Americas at UF. The Radical Rush Reception will be on Friday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m. at the Boca Backyard. The week is a great way for people to engage with organizations and for people from various organizations to meet one another. The Civic Media Center also prepares a guidebook to all the organizations involved. For more information or to participate, please email or call 352-373-0010.

History and the people who make it: Hernan Vera

Transcript edited by Pierce Butler

This is the 29th in a series of transcript excerpts from the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program collection at the University of Florida. 

Hernan Vera was interviewed by Diana Gonzalez-Tennant [G] in 2009.

V: I was born on February 16th, 1937 – seventy-two years ago – in Santiago, Chile. I went to several schools. By age 16 or 17 I was fluent in both Spanish and English and had a limited fluency in French. My second school was St. Georges College—Colegió San Jorge. I started there around 1946 and graduated in 1954. Then I went into Law School of Universidad de Chile, became a lawyer in 1962, got married in 1963 to Maria Inez Concha Gutierrez, my wife of today, and we had three children. I am retired, after 33 years of teaching sociology at the University of Florida.

I was getting ready to return to Chile, after getting a PhD in sociology, when a military coup on 9-11-1973 took place, and it was advisable in the view of all of our families and friends that we should stay in the US. We had come here in 1968 with a residence visa so we could work and stay without any problems.

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Global March for elephants, rhinos

Elephantopia is participating in the third annual Global March for Elephants and Rhinos this October 3 and 4. We are hosting a benefit concert at First Magnitude Brewing from 4–7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3, featuring live bands (Blue Slammers and Melting Funk Pot), an opportunity to sign a letter to Florida legislature calling for an ivory ban, and raffle to support an orphaned elephant in Zambia at the GRI – Elephant Orphanage Project. This event is FREE and open to the public.

Come out on Sunday, Oct. 4, at 10:30 a.m. to march through Gainesville with Conservation Initiative for the Asian Elephant — we begin at Plaza de Americas at UF.

For more information, visit The Gainesville event is on Facebook at

Not in Florida? Find a city near you: www.march4elephantsandrhinos.orga/.

Redistricting corruption in Florida

by Susan Bottcher

In 2010 more than 60 percent of Floridians voted for two constitutional amendments that would require the end of gerrymandering. We sent a clear message to Tallahassee that We The People should chose our elected representatives, not the other way around where entrenched politicians pick their voters.

The Republican legislature ignored and disrespected the will of The People. Instead they used their political operatives to draw and submit illegal maps that they then embraced and passed into law. We are fortunate to have three organizations, Fair Districts Now, the Florida League of Women Voters and Common Cause, who filed lawsuits to prevent the illegal maps from being implemented.

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Francis ‘Pat’ Fitzpatrick made social work ‘absurd and hilarious’

patby Katie Walters

Surrounded by close friends and family, Pat Fitzpatrick passed away on August 3, 2015, at the Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center after a long bout with liver disease. He was 65 years old. He will be celebrated by his two children, Dan and Katie, his two sisters Katherine and Nora, and many close friends.

Pat was a lifetime agitator and advocate for the poor and underrepresented. As his bandmate and friend Jon Decarmine expressed, “He was an incredible guy with a huge heart and a knack for making social justice work absurd and hilarious.”

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Proposed zoning overhaul threatens Gainesville neighborhoods

by Tana Silva

A proposed zoning overhaul in Gainesville would reward speculation in the guise of redeveloping urban neighborhoods—the last cheap real estate—around UF and downtown. Each neighborhood is unique, and all are gradually revitalizing.

With rezoning, multistory business and apartment buildings could replace houses and small yards, first and worst in the historically African American Fifth Avenue neighborhood and eventually Porters and others.

From Brooklyn to San Francisco, the same fate has befallen once-affordable real neighborhoods and their distinct character. They become Disneyfied, the rich become richer, and longtime residents become refugees.

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Fall Trash Festival at the Repurpose Project, Oct. 10


Citizens Co-op seeks board members, invites public to potluck, speak-out

Citizens Co-op has still been struggling to recover from the needless firing of workers over a year ago and the negative publicity generated by that act. Currently the Board is well functioning, and includes one of the fired workers. What has been missing is customers and volunteers to get things back on track.

The annual general meeting of members of Citizens Co-op will be held on Thursday, Sept. 24, in Meeting Room A of the Downtown Public Library. The meeting will begin promptly at 7 p.m. and will need to end at 8:30 p.m. This year there will be five seats up for election; three of these are producer rep, member rep and worker rep, which are one-year terms, and two are at-large seats, which are two-year terms. This year we want to emphasize paper ballot voting with the hope that those members who cannot make the annual general meeting will stop by the store and vote. Since some members may not be able to get into the store, we will send an absentee ballot electronically upon request. The election begins at the meeting with a chance to meet and talk to candidates and will continue until 8 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 4.

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Saving the Sunshine State

By Joanna Grey

Six women who left their mark on Florida’s history will be featured in the Matheson History Museum’s new exhibition, Saving the Sunshine State: Women Leaders in the Twentieth Century. The exhibit runs from September 1 to October 31. These six women all worked to improve Florida and the lives of its citizens in areas such as conservation, civil rights, writing, education and suffrage.

May Mann Jennings (1872-1963) – A Florida first lady and wife of the 18th governor of Florida, May Mann Jennings championed such causes as women’s suffrage, education funding, historic preservation and highway beautification.

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) – Hurston was born in Alabama but was raised in Eatonville, Florida. She was a part of the Harlem Renaissance and was one of the most widely published African American woman writers and anthropologists of the twentieth century.

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Travis Fristoe Zine Library to be dedicated to his memory

travisIt was on Thursday and Friday of the first week of August that word began to circulate around Gainesville of the passing of a truly loved and respected longtime member of our community who had in recent years relocated to Philadelphia.

Travis Fristoe was a cofounder and major motivator of the zine library in the Civic Media Center in the mid ’90s, was a principle volunteer of Wayward Council, a writer, musician, teacher, librarian and a good friend to many here and around the world. It seemed impossible that such a vibrant person was gone, but he was.

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Power to the people or Confederate heritage: Which side are you on?

Teach-In, Sept. 19 — Porters Community Center

As part of the ongoing campaign to have the Confederate statue relocated, our third teach-in will be held beginning at noon on September 19 at the Porters Community Center (512 SW 2nd Terrace) and will be titled “Power to the People or Confederate Heritage: Which Side Are You On?”

At this event, powerful speakers will discuss the horrific history of the Confederacy as well as the informal and formal systems of violence, oppression, and discrimination that have perpetuated white supremacy to this day. Our speakers will include Kali Blount on slavery, Kayla Esparra on emancipation, Annette Gilley on discrimination, Herb DuPree on the economy, Jesse Arost on colonialism and imperialism, and Faye Williams on the need to relocate the Confederate statue.

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Oct. 4: Birthday celebration for Cathy DeWitt, Stetson Kennedy

The Civic Media Center will host a free event honoring Florida folklorist/author/activist Stetson Kennedy and local singer/songwriter Cathy DeWitt on Sunday, Oct. 4 from 4 pm to 6 pm.

The Stetson Kennedy Foundation earlier this year awarded Cathy with the 2015 “Fellow Man and Mother Earth Award” recognizing her outstanding achievement in promoting environmental kinship, human rights and the preservation of traditional culture. The upcoming event offers the community a chance to recognize Cathy, and has the added bonus of being a birthday party for both her and Stetson — born just a day apart. Thee CMC is the home of the Stetson Kennedy Library, where his personal library of 2,000+ books found a home after he died in August 2011. The author of nearly a dozen books, Stetson used his brave heart, curious mind and sharp pen to effect change, infiltrating and exposing the KKK in the late ’40s. Stetson’s widow Sandra Parks-Kennedy will present this important award to Cathy. Past winners include Frank Thomas, Pete Gallagher, and Jeanie Fitchen.

Cathy has contributed her music to the Gainesville community for decades, hosting the NPR affiliate radio show Across the Prairie, composing songs, and playing in benefits to support the environment, arts, and human rights. Cathy’s band “Patchwork’’ will perform at the event, and will speakers and testimonials celebrating the achievements of both Stetson and Cathy — on their birthdays! Refreshments will be served.

Florida’s Water Crisis is Deepening

by Dr. Bob Knight, Director of the Florida Springs Institute

The front page article in the October 2012 Iguana by Joe Courter was titled: “This Election is Pivotal.” Truer words were never spoken.

In 2010 the Florida Republican party cemented their virtual dictatorship over the state government with the razor-thin election of a tea party, big business governor, Rick Scott, and a super majority in both the Florida House and Senate. In the 2012 election, Florida’s outrageous gerrymandering designed by the same Republican operatives strengthened their party’s stranglehold on every aspect of Florida’s state government.

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From the publisher: Chin up—There’s work to do (don’t let the bastards grind you down)

joe-WEBWell, Summer’s over, the consistent 90s will make way for cooler and more energized times. There’s lots going on in the world, let’s have a great year.

We are glad to have Kelly Mangan’s firsthand report from Vermont on Bernie Sanders. It is infuriating to watch and listen as the media spends all its time covering the reactionary celebrity candidacy of Trump, and then, even worse, equate Bernie with Trump as fringe candidates, but then still spend their time on The Donald. The topics Bernie is putting on the table are the issues most Americans care about. They are about hope, positive solutions, and challenging the power of corporations and big money in our politics. They are not what the media wants to talk about.

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Daughter of Malcolm X, Ilyasah Shabazz, to speak

On Sept. 27 and 28, the Gainesville community will have a chance to hear Ilyasah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X, as she is in town for multiple speaking engagements. She is a woman who has embraced her roots and heritage, and has become a very successful and prominent person herself, leading a life dedicated to empowering young people by capitalizing on the arts and entertainment to encourage the understanding of history, culture and self-expression.

On Sunday afternoon, Sept. 27, she will be speaking at the Downtown Public Library at 2:30 p.m. The following day, Monday the 28th, she will be speaking at the Ocora, which is the lobby area in Pugh Hall on the University of Florida campus. That talk will be at 3 p.m.

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He ‘fights like hell for working people’

bernieby Kelly Mangan

It was a warm summer’s night three years ago in rural Vermont. I pulled down a long driveway, past cow pasture and hay bales, up to a small farmhouse porch where an old fellow in a slouch hat was smoking his pipe. He nodded to me and asked if I was lost.

“No, sir,” I said. “I work for Bernie Sanders’ senate campaign.”

He stood and beckoned me inside, then called for his wife saying, “This girl says she’s from Bernie Sanders.”

For more information about how you can get involved in local activities supporting Bernie Sanders for President, contact Jenn Powell of Florida Independent Voters, or Molly Vise of Progressive Gators,

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September 2015 Gainesville Iguana

sept 15 iguana web coverThe September 2015 issue of the Iguana is now available! Kelly Mangan talks Bernie Sanders, Bob Knight discusses Florida’s water crisis, Susan Bottcher writes on redistricting corruption in Florida, and we remember some of Gainesville’s finest — Travis Fristoe and Pat Fitzpatrick. If you want to get your hands on a hard copy, check out our distro locations here.

Government in the Shadows vs. Payne’s Prairie

by Robert “Bob” Simons

The workings of government in Tallahassee have always been messy. The money from the Florida Lottery, voted upon by the people of Florida for the purpose of increasing funding for education, was long ago syphoned off into the murky politics of Tallahassee. Amendment 1, also voted upon by the people of Florida (passing by a 75% to 25% majority of the people who voted) is suffering the same fate. (The overall funding for the environment in the State’s 2015 budget, in spite of supposed additions from Amendment 1, is $48 million less than it was in the 2014 budget according to Pegeen Hanrahan – Gainesville Sun 7/19/15.) The Water Management Districts, designed to carefully ration Florida’s fresh water supply to ensure a sustainable future for the people of Florida have been downsized and reworked to eliminate the “sustainable” aspect of that idea. And now, it seems, Tallahassee’s attention has turned to Florida’s State Parks.

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