Category Archives: November-December 2016

History and the people who make it: Anthony Ray Hinton

Anthony Ray Hinton [AH], who spent 30 years on Alabama’s death row, was interviewed by a 5-person SPOHP team in Montgomery, Alabama, in 2015.

This is the 37th in a series of transcript excerpts from the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program collection at the University of Florida.

Transcript edited by Pierce Butler.

AH: We are told we have the best justice system in the world. That might be true. But racism still plays a part. We are taught that justice is blind. But I assure you – the lady sees what race you are, your education background, what neighborhood you live in. When you come through the door, that determines whether you are guilty or innocent.

I was twenty-nine years of age when I was arrested for attempted murder, attempted first-degree kidnap, and first-degree robbery.

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GCOR: Gainesville City of Resistance

by Joe Courter

Here in Gainesville the reality of Donald Trump as President Elect has brought out an amazing response. In a follow up meeting to the speakout held Thurs 11/10,  on Sunday afternoon 11/13 over 200 people overflowed the now vacant Citizens Co-op space for a very productive planning session. Surprisingly less than a fourth of them had been at the speakout three days earlier.  Social media is a very powerful tool in particular Facebook and the Gainesville City of Resistance site.

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Humans living, sleeping, dying on the streets is NOT normal

by Jon DeCarmine , Operations Director for GRACE

Imagine showing up at the emergency room. You’re having a heart attack. You need immediate attention. There’s two other people in there, one with a broken leg and one with a cut on their finger. You’re told that, since they arrived before you, the doctors and nurses will treat them first, and you’ll have to wait until you are called.

Once you’re seen, the doctors recognize you from the last time you had a heart attack. They had told you to change your lifestyle to include more exercise and a better diet. Since you didn’t follow their advice, they tell you that they’re not going to treat you until you lose 10 pounds and stop smoking.

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Mayor’s Book Club to read about history of racist ideas

Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe announced “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” by Ibram X. Kendi as the next selection for the Mayor’s Book Club. The public is invited to read and participate in discussion about racial themes raised in the book. The only rule is that people enter the discussion with an open mind, and discuss the book with civility and positivity.

Ibram X. Kendi is an assistant professor of African-American history at the University of Florida who focuses on racist and antiracist movements and ideas.

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Feminist bookstore offers social justice books, indie bestsellers, gathering space

The Holiday season is fast approaching and Wild Iris is ready to help you get all the gifts you need!  As Florida’s only feminist bookstore our inventory is full of feminist, activist, social justice books, and more.

We carry a great selection of alternative kids books highlighting marginalized voices and stories and teaching our little ones about activism and solidarity. We also carry unique and fun gifts, journals, buttons,  greeting cards, candles and more.  Let us help you find gifts for all the  people on your list!

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Letter to the DNC: You are responsible

Dear DNC:

Please read. Please listen this time.

Cheaters never prosper. We, the entire nation, are suffering because of your corruption and lying deeds.  The nation spoke and told you that they were tired of the “establishment.”  You didn’t listen.

Starting with Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and EVERY single one of the DNC staff who was involved and responsible for abusing their position in order to bias and influence the outcomes of the Democratic primaries and the choosing of the Democratic nominee. You influenced the media and prevented the equal flow of finances and blocked the other candidate from those things. You had decided long ago that Hillary Clinton would be the nominee and everyone else be damned. You humiliated the entire Democratic Party in front of the entire nation. 

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Gainesville Homegrown: Businesses + Entrepreneurship celebrates, inspires Gainesville Entrepreneurs Month

A grassroots effort, “Gainesville Homegrown: Businesses + Entrepreneurship” has formed to celebrate and inspire locally created and owned business and entrepreneurial efforts in Gainesville.

The collective will focus its attention on business development and meaningful job growth in greater East Gainesville, the area between the western shore of Newnan’s Lake and West 13th Street. The team members have decades of combined expertise in local community design and policy-making, the arts, design, and entrepreneurship, with a special commitment to tapping the potential of the local African-American community. They plan to support other locally-driven efforts, and host events and classes in and for Gainesville’s East Side.

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Gainesville Tells: Local vets perform their stories on stage

by Mandy McDade

Reprinted by permission from the UF College of the Arts e-newsletter “In the Loop.”

“It’s time to speak. It’s time to listen.”

That’s the motto of the Telling Project, a performing arts non-profit that gives veterans and their families a platform to speak about their experiences in the military. The Telling Project is a nationwide initiative that has put over 180 soldiers and their families on stage, giving audiences the opportunity to listen to their stories in a unique and engaging format.

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Open enrollment period begins Nov. 1 for 2017 federal health insurance marketplace coverage

by Ronnie Lovler, SRAHEC

Open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace began Nov. 1. Individuals and families in North Central Florida enrolling in coverage for the first time or continuing their existing health coverage for 2017 may review their health insurance options with the assistance of a Navigator.

Suwannee River Area Health Education Center (SRAHEC) navigators will continue to provide assistance at no cost to consumers in 15 North Central Florida counties. This is the fourth year that trained SRAHEC Navigators helped local consumers explore their health insurance options through the Marketplace. This year, SRAHEC has expanded its coverage area through a direct partnership with Florida Covering Kids & Families at the University of South Florida’s College of Public Health. Florida Covering Kids & Families and regional partners provide Navigator services to all 67 Florida counties.

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Central Labor Council hosts annual holiday spaghetti dinner

The North Central Florida Central Labor Council will have their annual holiday spaghetti dinner on Monday, Dec. 12 at 6:30 pm at the Alachua County Senior Center at 5701 NW 34th St. in Gainesville.

All are invited to break bread with the CLC and listen to updates about working family issues in the North Central Florida area.

Living wage for city and county still important

Below is the transcript of an address by Christopher Kennard to the Gainesville Mayor and City Commissioners on July 21 regarding the Living Wage Campaign.

Good Evening, Mayor and City Commissioners.

It has been exactly thirty three years, and one month since I first addressed this public body regarding the wages paid to city public employees …

The time span made me reflect this morning upon what it is that I would like to say – something that would add to the dialogue, rather than repeating points already made regarding the pay we do provide to our public servants … all public employees working with Alachua County.

So first, Mayor … City Commissioners, I would like to thank you for the steps you have already taken to address the economic burden poorly paid workers must labor under, day in and day out.

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From the publisher … Get ready to rise to the challenge

I would assume that all of you reading this were shocked and disappointed in the election results on Nov. 8. It hit me very hard when I thought how much work had gone into making things better in the world and how so much of what Trump proposes could reverse that progress. It is a comfort to be in an enlightened place like Alachua County, and heart warming when electoral maps show our blue island in the sea of red, but even here the impacts of the Trump’s razor thin victory will be felt.

There is a rise of racist, sexist and xenophobic behavior emboldened by Trump’s rhetoric, a poison loosened in the culture even without his victory. In Britain, after Brexit, people of conscience, as a sign of solidarity and love, started wearing a safety pin visible on their clothing, to let immigrants, LGBT and other threatened individuals know they were a person who could be trusted. We need to be able to explain to Trumpers that the politics of division hurt us all, and that there are also threats to healthcare and social security that effect them as well.

On Nov 10, some movement friends and I organized a speak out at City Hall. Over 400 people came, over 40 spoke. A perhaps 10-year-old put it forward quite basically: “I think we should protest to not let this stupid person have that much power.” Protest yes, but organize, organize, organize was a recurring theme. People aired their real fears, the threats they feel, things that just in the last day had happened to them or others. There were very direct and on point challenges to not just confront Trump people, but to try and talk to them, to get them to see beyond their misplaced prejudices. To go out to where they live and to the events they go to and not just stay in our little bubble. Especially, white folks were asked to deal with their fellow white folks who they might otherwise not engage with, to go out of their comfort zone.

In all the recriminations of how this happened, I don’t believe the media has not been held to account enough. As someone said to me election night, “It’s like if Trump said ‘the earth is flat’, the media would simply say that ‘the candidates had a difference of opinion’.” CNN admitted they gave undo attention to Trump because it was good for ratings, even to the point of an hour broadcast of an empty podium prior to a Trump speech. And the Republican party itself paved the way for Trump’s rise with their inflammatory rhetoric in recent decades; Trump just took it to another level.

I think Hillary Clinton’s loss can also be laid at the feet of the Democratic National Committee, which thought it could engineer a sure win for her and themselves. The rise of the Sanders campaign was seen as a challenge to be defeated. Jane McNulty lays it out in her piece on page 9. I can’t help but think that even if Bernie Sanders had been the party nominee and lost, we would still be so far ahead of where we are now. The attacks on his socialism and his response would have educated the public. The attacks on his Movement past and his rebuttal would have enlightened many. I believe he would have done better at countering Trumps outlandish claims, and the energy of his supporters would have been infectious. I also believe he would have won. Her loss is a squandered historical moment, the ramifications of which we will deal with for decades.

But barring unforeseen events, like the electoral college refusing to validate his win on Dec 19, or Trump himself admitting he is indeed incapable of doing the job, we will have to deal with President Trump, and his even more frightening VP pick Mike Pence, only a heartbeat or impeachment away from the Presidency. This will be a challenge, and we all need to be prepared to shine in whatever way we can. He gives us an opportunity to unify in opposition to his imminent attacks on hard fought gains, and organize for upcoming elections in 2018 and 2020. Our friends and neighbors who are more threatened than us will be needing us. We will rise.

Iguana love

This is the last of Vol. 30 of the Iguana. In January we begin Vol. 31.

In mid October we attempted a celebration of 30 years of publishing and got pretty well rained out.

If you appreciate the commitment and effort it take to keep doing this, kindly consider making a donation or subscription, checks payable to Iguana.

It takes money to print the paper, no one gets paid. It is a labor of love. Your contribution would throw some love back at us.   

Thank You.

Blue dot report

Looking at the state map of voting results for the president, we in Alachua County are a blue island surrounded by red.

All the candidates and issues the Iguana wanted to win did … in Alachua County.  The problem was we are attached to a bunch of red state territory which overwhelmed our best intentions. Thank you gerrymandering; the drawing of voting districts lets the party in charge at the decade election, in this case republicans in 2010, pick their voters and dilute a progressive place like Alachua County. Thank you to all our Democrats who put themselves on the line. The only things our picks won statewide was the amendments, one of those “wins” being the defeat of the bogus solar amendment, and the other most notable Yes to Medical Marijuana.

What sets this great county apart is the approval of One Mill for Schools and Wild Spaces Public Places. We value education, parks and the environment enough that we passed two taxes on ourselves, and by substantial margins.

There were also four opportunities for write in candidates, and all got between 5.78 percent and  7.09 percent.  The leader among them was Chloe Goldbach, who as an out trangendered woman boldly and bravely drew at least 6,851 votes.

City elections up next in March.

This is not a drill: Action to stop the Sabal Trail pipeline has begun and needs your help

Call to Action: Join us at sunrise on Saturday, Nov. 26, for direct action. Park at Guy Lemmons boat ramp, northwest of the 129 bridge over the Santa Fe River, near Branford. Bring a canoe or kayak.

by Panagioti Tsolkas, Eternal Springs Earth First!

Over the first week of November, we watched as the energy empire impaled the earth under the Santa Fe River to begin a horizontal direction drilling (HDD) operation for the Sabal Trail pipeline.

Sabal Trail is the name of the main leg in a series of over 700 miles of pipelines and compressor stations from central Alabama to southern Florida, which is being built by a consortium of energy interests lead by Spectra, as well as other familiar names such as Enbridge, of DAPL infamy, and Florida’s own FPL. The plan currently entails transport for fracked gas, though companies have indicated that the pipeline could also be refitted for oil transport in the future.

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November/December 2016 Gainesville Iguana

NOV-DEC 2016 Iguana coverThe November-December 2016 issue of the Iguana is now available! If you want to get your hands on a hard copy, check out our distro locations here.