Below are remarks from UF Professor Paul Ortiz from the Pulse Commemoration and United Ceremony held at UF on June 28. The event was organized to mourn and stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community after the mass shooting in Orlando earlier in June.
Tonight, we honor the victims and the survivors of one of the most terrible massacres in American history.
We send our thoughts and our prayers to the LGBT community in Orlando and we also send our apologies.
Yes, our apologies. For we must recognize that all of us play a role in a society where violence and hatred have too often become standard operating procedure. In Florida, we have too often elected or anointed leaders who spout hatred against Trans People, the LGBT community, against immigrants, against people of color.
Literally. This Labor Daze Fest is all about that. We are working on a living wage for ALL. We are supporting local responsible businesses. (Come see who wins the Labor Daze Local Responsible Business award!) And this year we are putting our money where our mouth is: one lucky raffle winner will have their power bill paid by Labor Daze Fest! So come support local business, listen to some great music, climb the free rock wall, and get some serious empowerment this Labor Day Weekend. Power to the People. Pass it on!
Labor Daze Fest (info on facebook) is SUNDAY, SEPT. 4 (the day before Labor Day), from 4–10 PM at The Bo Diddley Plaza (111 E. University Ave.). Mama Trish is a local musician, activist, and Mother of Labor Daze.
by Robert “Hutch” Hutchison, Alachua County Commissioner
You hate the political parties. The Democrats and their slippery super-delegates. The Republicans whose candidates attract all the haters. The Libertarians because their ideas don’t pan out in modern society. The Greens for their narrowly focused idealism. Etc.
So your voter registration lists you as a “No Party Affiliate” (NPA), because you are independent and wish to vote your conscience. In Alachua County, there are around 35,000 registered voters (out of a total of 164,000) who agree with you.
by Mary Savage
Can you believe that Medicare turns 51 on July 30 and Social Security turns 81 on Aug. 14? Raise a glass of sparkling cider, have a slice of cake and sing “Happy Anniversary!” to these good and moral programs that benefit senior citizens and their families. But can you also believe these good and moral programs are under attack? They are – still! That’s why we all have to keep up with the issues. First, a history lesson: Before Social Security, senior citizens and workers had no national assistance when they grew old or got sick or died on the job. Counties operated poor farms and poor houses for destitute workers when they grew old. Many seniors lived with family members, adding to the stress of the household. But thanks to the great Democratic president Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal administration, Social Security became law in 1935 and gradually improved life for ordinary Americans.
We’re trying something new for Summer, and we are excited to give our worker-owners a weekend by closing two days in a row. With this change in our hours, we will move into a weekly cycle, offering incoming fresh produce at regular price on Wednesdays and at a discount by Sundays. In addition to the new price-points available in our produce department, we will expand our bulk department by adding more natural products to our mainly organic foods. Our initial forays into this area have been very successful; for example, although organic almonds now cost nearly $20/lb, our natural almonds are selling very well at half that price. We will still carry the organic options, and with the inclusion of natural products, we will be able to appeal to households with differing budgets. By expanding our bulk department and regularly offering discounted produce, we hope to serve more members of the community.
Wednesday – Sunday 10am-8pm
435 S. Main Street, Gainesville
The Friends of Susan B. Anthony will celebrate Women’s Equality Day with their annual festive luncheon on Saturday August 27th. This event, which began as an informal birthday party for Susan B. Anthony over forty years ago, is now held in conjunction with the anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. Each year a local woman is recognized who exemplifies the spirit of Susan B. Anthony. This year, Nancy Griffin and JoAnn Wilkes will be co-honorees for their contributions to the Displaced Homemakers Program (DHP) at Santa Fe College. In operation for thirty years, the program has helped over 3100 women make the transition to the work force. DHP provides support, stability, training, and career exploration, with the goals of empowerment and education for the job market. The special featured speaker will be Laura Rosenbury, the first permanent female dean in the 106 year history of the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida. Dean Rosenbury is an internationally recognized scholar in the field of family law and feminist legal theory.
The luncheon will be held at the Best Western Gateway Grand at 11:30 a.m., and will cost $20 for an adult. For further information and reservations, please contact June Littler at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 352-374-8158; or go to www.fosba.com. Reservation deadline is August 24th and no tickets will be sold at the door.
by Joe Courter
August 30 is over 2 months away at the time this is being written, and there won’t be another Iguana until after the election; but that’s the way the calendar and our production fall. You will find articles and ads in here, and we hope you will take them to heart and memory. If you want, save this and use it as a guide later.
Our city and county have benefited greatly from electing forward-thinking commissioners, but the work they do can be stopped or reversed with an election cycle where people don’t turn out. Election finance laws have changed, and with this election a lot more outside-the-area corporate money and negative advertising can be expected, especially against Byerly and Hutchinson. Negative advertising is designed to confuse and disillusion people, and drive voter turnout down.
by Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson and Jim Tatum
Confusion and animosity have reigned for some time in Bradford County, due to the county commissioners not listening to the people. However, as time goes by, there is less confusion and more animosity apparent at each meeting of the commissioners.
It all started when a group of landowners joined together to form HPS II Enterprises with the intent of mining phosphate on a large tract of land adjacent to the Santa Fe River, and straddling New River, a tributary dividing Bradford and Union counties.
by Kayla Sosnow
Governor Scott’s Florida Department of Transportation wants to build a new, high-capacity high-speed toll road, traversing the state from Tampa to Jacksonville, purportedly for “regional connectivity” and to relieve I-75 congestion between Wildwood and Gainesville. But demand has never been demonstrated for a Tampa-Jax corridor, and the proposal does little to solve I-75 congestion.
In April FDOT finally revealed swaths under consideration for potential future corridors. Towns and villages impacted include High Springs/Alachua, Tioga, Jonesville, Newberry, Haile Plantation, Gainesville, Archer, Williston, Ocala, Rainbow Springs, Dunnellon, Citrus Springs, Lecanto and Hernando. (See swaths on map.)
The mess we are in has been building for a long time. Idealism and hope can keep us moving forward, but is the destination we are heading toward where we want to be going? Back months ago I can distinctly remember more uncompromising friends insisting that the Bernie campaign would come to nothing, that he was a way of occupying the left until when he lost and then he would try to swing his supporters to back Hillary. I hated hearing that because I knew how much truth resonated in it.
by Maria Carter
On June 12 in Orlando, a deeply disturbed young man with a semi-automatic rifle shot 102 people in less than 15 minutes at a gay nightclub, killing 49 and wounding 53. The majority of those killed and injured were young, queer and Latinx, enjoying the dancing and celebration at the club’s Latin night.
News of the attack flattened the American LGBTQ+ community. We’re still reeling.
by James Thompson
In the August 30th Democratic primary for the Alachua County Commission races, the people get to decide who runs our community–Chamber of Commerce candidates supported by PAC money, or locally grown grassroots issue-based progressives. As sitting Commissioner Robert Hutchinson has acknowledged alongside his own race for re-election, the more difficult challenge is getting his colleague Mike Byerly to keep his seat against the charismatic Jacksonville transplant, Pastor Kevin Thorpe. If Thorpe wins, Plum Creek (now Weyerhaeuser) will resubmit its plans to undermine our Comprehensive Plan and build a city on the wetlands in Eastern Alachua County, and we will see a decline in the focus on social services and a County living wage. The primary is the sum of the election, since no Republican is running, and you must be registered as a Democrat to vote in it. You can do this and request a mail-in ballot at www.votealachua.com. Continue reading
by Chloe Goldbach
Awareness needs to spread regarding issues affecting the LGBT community, especially issues facing the transgender community. Because of this, I am running as a write-in candidate for Alachua County Commission in District 5 in the hopes of enacting lasting, positive change.
Eight years ago, I moved to Alachua County to attend the University of Florida. It is now my home where I work as a biomedical engineer, while studying to pursue a career in social work to provide support for LBGT youth and adults.
The July-August issue of the Iguana is now available! If you want to get your hands on a hard copy, check out our distro locations here.