Category Archives: September 2019

Radical Rush 2019

by Joe Courter

It began at a Civic Media Center volunteer meeting in 1998. All the Greek rush was going on as usual at the UF campus, and at first the thought came up as a joke, a parody of this annual ritual. Like “Rush CMC.” 

But then as the idea was tossed around, it was pointed out that it was pretty functional for them, and perhaps we could use the concept to benefit ourselves. Someone else pointed out that “radical” has a definition of getting to the root, of seeking fundamental change, and if we invited other progressive groups, it would be good for everyone, because we all need members, and “rush” means, in the case of the (college) Greeks, entertain bids for membership. 

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History and the people who make it: Barbara Higgins

Barbara Higgins [H], civil rights activist, was interviewed by Stewart Landers [L] in August, 1992.

This is the 54th in a series of transcript excerpts from the UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program collection.

Transcript edited by Pierce Butler.

H: My dad was a cook on the train and the man who was opening the White House Hotel here, on Main Street where some bank is now, he was on the train and the food was good, so he said, I’d like for you to come and cook for me. I was on the way, so by the time they got into Gainesville, I was born, January 14, 1926.

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Gainesville hosts Fight Toxic Prisons 2019

By Fight Toxic Prisons

The 2019 Fight Toxic Prisons (FTP) Convergence, which was the fourth annual national gathering of activists working at the intersections of prison abolitionists and environmental justice, occurred in Gainesville. Through the course of four days, June 14 – 17, activists in town hosted several community functions, starting with the “No Borders Fest” event on Friday, which served as the weekend’s official kick-off. That entire day was swarming with activity, including simultaneous workshops on prisoner support and abolitionist organizing 101 (one occurring in the main space, while the other happened in the Stetson Kennedy Annex), music, a prisoner art show, speakers, and “silent dance party.” The day also included a national convening of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee and Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Courses on defending Amendment 4’s re-enfranchisement goals, prisoners’ rights and environmental justice in immigrant detention facilities. The sessions were packed with lawyers and activists eager to apply new skills and inspiration in their locales across the country. 

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Music. Story. Voice. Community.

Baer and the Lady Explores… a monthly series taking place at different local hangouts this fall. Curious minds of all kinds welcome. Join us for an integrative exploration of community topics through music and voice. A relaxing atmosphere to explore, ask questions, and hear stories from our community leaders. Musical hosts, Baer and the Lady.

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House Of Waking Life to open

by Brooke Danielle Rosen

The House Of Waking Life (HOWL) is a center for lucidity, wellbeing and creative exploration in a 111-year-old house downtown at 109 SE 4th Ave.

The house previously operated as Aurora Healing Arts for several years, home to Ecstatic Dance and a place of refuge, learning and community. 

The HOWL, aiming to open in October, is the manifestation of a lifelong dream cultivated by Brooke Danielle Rosen and is being realized with the help of Caleb von Radugge, along with other friends and family. 

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Tutors needed: Indivisible Gainesville Tutoring Program

by Indivisible Gainesville

When we canvassed in East Gainesville throughout the spring, summer, and fall of 2018, we asked community members what they are most concerned about in terms of governmental impact in their lives. 

The poor quality of education and low funding for our public schools were by far the most common concerns we heard.

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Renters’ rights and acts of worker solidarity to combat white supremacy

by Jesse Cosme,

Alachua County Labor Coalition

Over the past couple years there has been a heightened awareness around white supremacist activity. In these times, it is important to recognize the role of capital goal of alienating workers from one another in perpetuating white supremacy and misogyny, among other oppressive and divisive phenomena. 

Much has been written historically about the role of white supremacist and masculine violence rhetoric as tools of the capitalist class to divide white men workers from everyone else, dating back to slavery. With the growing tides against worker solidarity since the 1970s, there has been a growing tide of white supremacy that is crashing upon us with immense force.

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Light for Liberty Vigil held at Homestead detention center for migrant children

By Pam Smith

On July 12, more than 25 Gainesvillians answered the call to go to Homestead, Florida to take part in a Light for Liberty Vigil. It was one of many vigils across the southern part of the United States to highlight the plight of jailed immigrants. 

Homestead was the location for the largest detention center for migrant children, with more than 3,000 children held there. Many had been separated from their families at the border. 

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Loving the Longleaf Pine: Ecology of a Cracker Childhood

By Elizabeth McCulloch

It’s been twenty years since Janisse Ray published “Ecology of a Cracker Childhood.” This classic of environmental literature is set in rural southern Georgia. It tells us of Ray’s family, with deep roots in this land for many generations, and of what we all lost when the vast forests of longleaf pine were replaced by plantations of slash and loblolly.

Though the family was quite poor, and for a few years the father had frightening spells of mental illness, this is a memoir of an idyllic childhood. Ray grew up in a small house in the middle of her family’s junkyard on Route 1. The whole family worked together – cleaning, hauling, dismantling. The parents were deeply in love with each other and devoted to their children.

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From the publisher … Resilience…

by Joe Courter

I was out with my friend Lee shooting pool and talking, and he was telling me about all the drama at the City Commission meetings, the issues over three-story apartments and a parking garage in the Porter’s neighborhood, controversy over city emails as public record, and the general tension and lack of decorum at meetings. I was aware from some things I’d seen on Facebook and in the Sun, but was not following it like he was. I mentioned my mind had been preoccupied with the shooting in El Paso, and my outrage over how little the fact this gunman drove from just outside Dallas … 900 miles … to do his racist killing had been discussed. That this was more about Dallas than El Paso. Lee said: “What shooting in El Paso?”

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What do chickens, City Commission meetings have in common?

by Janice Garry

I have chickens in my backyard. Sometimes they fight over a worm or tasty bug. If one chicken has a tidbit another chicken might try to steal it. One chicken pecks aggressively to try to steal the bug, the other chicken pecks back to protect her prize. Whichever chicken wins, she struts around, puffs up her feathers, cackles her self-praise to the other chickens and shows a good deal of self-satisfaction. “I’m the chicken, I’m the chicken!”

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Nestlé’s drain on Ginnie Springs

By Merrillee Jipson and Jim Tatum, Board Members of Our Santa Fe River

What’s wrong with bottled water and Nestlé?

What’s right about it? I can think that maybe if you are out somewhere, hot and thirsty, it is convenient to have a bottle of water handy. Of course you could have that same amount of water in a nondisposable container. And it would be free. And likely it would be healthier. And you would not leave a plastic container to trash the ground.

What’s wrong? Everything.

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5 reasons to support the Santa Fe River Bill of Rights

  1. Our laws are failing to protect the Santa Fe River because the river does not currently have legal rights of its own.
  2. The Santa Fe River and springs are part of the largest concentration of freshwater springs in the world; they deserve to exist and to thrive.
  3. The river is pivotal in the economic, social, cultural, and spiritual life of Alachua County’s citizens, and is used to “brand” Alachua County.
  4. We want our children to be able to have the same experiences we’ve enjoyed in the springs and on the river.
  5. The Santa Fe River springs are the top layer of the groundwater that supplies our drinking water. If we save the springs, we save our drinking water.

Save the Santa Fe

By John Moran

The Santa Fe River Bill of Rights (SAFEBOR) campaign to enact new legal safeguards for the beloved river bordering Alachua County is now in full swing.

If the ballot initiative is approved by Alachua County voters in the 2020 general election, the county’s home rule charter will be amended to recognize the right of the Santa Fe River to naturally exist and flourish as an ecosystem, and the river’s right to be free of activities or practices that infringe upon those rights.

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September 2019 Gainesville Iguana

The September issue of the Iguana is now available, and you can access it here! If you want to get your hands on a hard copy, check out our distro locations here.