Category Archives: April 2022

News from the Civic Media Center

by Fi Stewart-Taylor

The Civic Media Center is excited to welcome you back to our space for a slew of great events this spring. Our regular open hours are Wednesday, 2-6pm, and Saturday, 1-5pm, when you can check out books, read zines, and browse our collection.

Volunteer led programming supports our mission of community access to education. Film screenings are every third Friday at 7:30pm; in March, we partnered with National Women’s Liberation to screen Jackson, an important documentary on the fight for abortion access. You can find information about upcoming films on Facebook or Instagram. Our book clubs meet on Wednesdays, led by volunteers. To get involved, come to a volunteer meeting, every 2nd and 4th Thursday, at 5:30pm. 

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Spotlight on Sister Cities International

The Sister Cities Program of Gainesville is a non-profit organization founded in Gainesville that strives to be a community leader by encouraging municipal officers and members of the community to engage in long-term relationships with other Sister City programs throughout the world. 

Our mission is to promote friendship, cultural exchange and shared experiences among citizens, institutions, businesses and officials of Gainesville and the world. We do this by stimulating environments for cultural understanding by sharing experiences. 

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Tom Rider, rest in power

Remember bookstores?

Gainesville had a great bookstore near the UF campus for years: Goerings.

Tom Rider was the co-owner, and he passed away on March 17, years after the store succumbed to redevelopment and online sales.

I used to manage a record store a few blocks from Goerings, and both stores were similar in that the staffs genuinely loved what they were selling, were knowledgeable, and the stores were often places where you’d run into people for great conversations.

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The best is yet to come: Works of Mr. Ernest M. Lee

Opening reception: Friday, May 13, 6-9pm
Santa Fe College Art Gallery 
3000 NW 83rd Street, M-147, Gainesville

A retrospective exhibit of the works of local folk artist Ernest Lee will be held in the Santa Fe College Art Gallery from May 16 through June 17.

Lee was a decorated and prolific artist depicting colorful scenes of rural life in North Florida, as well as the childhood memories of those he knew. A staple of the Gainesville art community, his work was featured in numerous exhibits and festivals around the region. 

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Upcoming course at Santa Fe College: The American Revolution, 1763–1815

by Gary Gordon

This is an introductory course on the American Revolution, so it must be said at the outset this course will not cover everything there is to say about the event and those years.

This is not a course about battles.

The attempt here will be to fill in some gaps to allow greater understanding of what took place between the end of “The French and Indian War,” also known as “The Seven Years War,” and the end of the War of 1812, when the United States’ victory over the British secured it as a nation with status to be reckoned with in the modern world.

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Help stop the causes of global warming

Live by basic principles of ecology: recycling, partnership, flexibility, diversity, sustainability

by Bill Gilbert

Global warming/climate change will soon overshadow all other problems that now confront us. We see increasing intensity of forest fires, floods and hurricanes; unprecedented species extinction globally; a global fresh water crisis; and, desertification of the world’s topsoil that is a major threat to our species. 

Global warming/climate change will not be stopped without ending the use of fossil fuels. 

Here are some things you can do locally to stop the causes of global warming. 

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What’s a GINI? And what is an ‘Heirs Property?’

by Harvey Ward, Gainesville City Commissioner, District II

Your City of Gainesville government has been busy working on programs likely to have a tremendous impact on folks often in need of city services. Two programs with the potential to be most helpful in our city this spring are the GINI (Gainesville Immigrant Neighbor Inclusion Initiative) and the Heirs Property program. 

The Gainesville Immigrant Neighbor Inclusion Initiative

The GINI initiative starts from the basic assumption that no matter who you are, where you came from or why you came to Gainesville, if you’re here you deserve access to the sweeping array of services our city offers whether you are a fluent user of English or not. Admittedly, that sounds easier than it is. The initiative’s beginnings are rooted in a tragic incident involving a GPD response to a domestic dispute in 2018 that resulted in federal immigration action. 

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Free UF Coalition holds rally decrying university censorship

The Free UF Coalition, made up of UF students and faculty held an academic freedom rally on March 30 on the UF campus. The March 30th Academic Freedom rally called for university personnel and students to be able to discuss, teach and conduct research on any subject without censorship by government officials. 

The University of Florida has been in the national news recently for limiting professors’ academic freedom, by barring them from testifying as expert witnesses. In January, a federal judge issued an injunction against UF, saying the university “had blatantly violated the Constitution and described the university’s legal defences as ‘shocking.’” (See WUSF’s report at

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A farewell letter to Gainesville: PONZ’s art yard sale, including live painting, music, food truck

When: Tuesday, April 16, 11am-5pm
Where: 435 S Main St, Gainesville

Dear Gainesville, 

Thank you for helping me become an artist. Since welcoming me here in 1989, you immediately made me feel at home. 

Thank you for your unique open-minded spirit, your free-thinking individuality, and your willingness to take chances (on me)! Thanks for nurturing me and inspiring my art for so many years. 

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Looking ahead … The Politics of Florida and the 2022 Midterm Elections

Webinar: Tuesday, April 19, 2pm

Join the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative and the UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program for a dynamic panel discussion that will focus on Latino political candidates in Florida, their platforms, their electoral base, the issues taking center stage in this election cycle, and the political implications that the races in Florida will have for the rest of the country. 

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Re-energize with FCPJ on May Day

The Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice celebrates 40 years of activism 

When: Sat-Sun, April 30-May 1
Where: 10665 SW 89th Ave, Hampton

You are invited to a gathering with the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice on May Day weekend (April 30-May 1). Camp out on Saturday night to share food and fellowship. Enjoy a full day on Sunday of nature walks, peace talks, and ancient wisdom. 

We will walk through our beautiful natural space with the help of group leaders who can narrate the plants among us. 

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Organizing for change is our only weapon

by Joe Courter

Political organizing is work that challenges one’s ideals, supporting imperfect candidates and electoral outcomes that may displease, but the work needs to be done. 

Disheartening and distracting are the opposition’s main tactics, as well as the blatant voter suppression we see here in Florida. But organizing for change is our only weapon, which is why the opposition works so hard to throw roadblocks in our way. 

I had a long talk with a goodhearted friend who was so down about the rapid changes to our city done by people she had supported. She was ready to give up on the process. I share that disappointment, but no, we have to keep moving ahead. 

This is a pivotal election year locally and statewide. We will get into that in the May-June issue of the Iguana.

From the publisher: Onward thru the contradictions

by Joe Courter

They say ignorance is bliss and I suppose it is, but it is a kind of shallow way to go through life.  One of the facets of gaining knowledge is that the more basic questions are answered, the more further questions are revealed. With that comes at times quite contradictory situations: two things which are ostensibly true, but are somewhat mutually exclusive. This can be a trap if you are totally locked into a binary attitude where you believe strictly in seeing things as either this or that.  

There are usually more than two sides to any issue, which is inconvenient if you are, say a news program addicted to concise brief handling of a story.  If you are a person of strong convictions, it can be really challenging, because there can be a tendency to be quite judgmental. Or if not judgmental, simply feel you must take a side. Generally this is not bad, but sometimes neither side is all that good. Sometimes the historic or personal allegiance to a “side” means that is hard to not become rigid despite changing facts.

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Teaching in 2022: A precarious balance

by Kendra Vincent

I really do love being a teacher and being in a classroom every day. I really do love my students. But teaching is a difficult job in the best of circumstances, and we’ve been operating under circumstances that are much less than best. 

Teaching is a constant balance of so many things … state and district mandates with joys of learning; implementing a rigorous learning environment with fostering a compassionate, nurturing classroom; feeling overwhelmed with what I do being only a small drop of water in a vast ocean with feeling immense pressure of the high stakes of our children; being the best teacher I can be with preventing complete burnout.

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April 2022 Gainesville Iguana

The April 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.