Category Archives: March 2022

News from the Civic Media Center

by JoJo Sacks

The Civic Media Center has been busy with lots of local organizing, skillshares, workshops, and film screenings in the courtyard. The volunteers are figuring out ways that we can get together safely and build community. 

Thanks to your support, we have continued to keep our space open on Wednesdays and Saturdays for browsing of the library collections. Our volunteer base is growing, and we always appreciate the help. 


  • Thursday, March 10, 5:30pm: Volunteer meeting 
  • Friday, March 18, 6:30: Film screening of Jackson, a compassionate insight into the fight for abortion rights, with National Women’s Liberation
  • Saturday, March 19, 2-5pm: Gainesville Free Store 
  • Wednesday, March 23, 7pm: Book Club will resume with Constructive Criticism: A Handbook by Gracie Lyons
  • Thursday, March 24, 5:30pm: Volunteer meeting
  • Friday, March 25, 7-10pm: Friday night Artwalk will feature a special artist at the CMC

Radio silence? Can you help?

by Chris Lake and Fred Sowder

WGOT Volunteers

Where there used to be vibrant discussion, there is now silence. Voices once representing the oppressed and diverse have been cast aside for personal gratification via popular entertainment. Community level discussions that once took center stage are now gone. Elections keep producing winners with little interest in supporting social justice or anti-fascism. 

How could such things happen? Sounds dystopian and hopeless, doesn’t it? 

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Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice updates

Did you know that the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice is one of the closest destination locations to the halfway point of the 1,500-mile-long Florida Trail? At less than two miles from the Trail, FCPJ is now recognized as a gateway community by the Florida Trail Association. Stop by to visit on your next hike.

FCPJ is expanding their hosting to more youth groups in 2022. Their Peace Education Center is available for retreats and gatherings at a reasonable rate. With the facility, groups enjoy the peaceful 15-acre rural sanctuary in Bradford County. Call 352-247-7142 for rates and availability.

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Springtime Santa Fe River events

Providing opportunities to learn, explore and play

The 10th Annual Santa Fe RiverFest fundraiser returns with the Santa Fe River Song Contest on Sunday, March 27, beginning at 1pm at Rum 138, at 2070 Southwest County Road 138 in Fort White, Florida. 

Held over two weekends during the month of March, RiverFest activities also include a plant walk and guided river paddle. These “learn, explore and play” events are sponsored by Our Santa Fe River, Inc., a North Florida non-profit organization working to bring some much-needed attention to area water resources.

“We have worked very hard this year to give our river a voice where the science of water can be celebrated through a confluence of song, dance, art, and mermaid magic,” said Rhonda Long, this year’s RiverFest Coordinator. 

“These events enable us to not only raise funds, but awareness, so we can continue to develop and expand our grassroots efforts to protect our community’s aquifers, springs, and waters,” said Long. 

“This year, we’ve reduced the ticket price of the Song Contest to make it more affordable for the whole family to attend,” said Our Santa Fe River President Kristin Rubin.

The Song Contest, a competition of original songs written about the Santa Fe River, brings local and regional singer/songwriters and music lovers from around the state to celebrate and learn about this special spring-fed river. Entrants perform their songs live at Rum 138 on March 27. 

Gates open at 1pm with the In the Moment band opening the show. The live performance of song entries begins at 2pm. 

Gainesville’s Poet Laureate E. Stanley Richardson is the master of ceremonies. The winner and two runners-up will walk away with a cash prize, and all participants will receive a professional YouTube video of their performance. After the song winners are announced and the silent auction pieces are distributed, In the Moment takes the stage again to close the show.

The RiverFest Song Contest will include an opportunity to have a photograph with a MerMaid, information booths, locally crafted beer, food and wine, a 50/50 raffle, and a silent auction with many interesting and unusual items, including pieces donated by the area’s leading artists and crafters.

This year’s plant hikes feature Bottomland Hardwood Forest with guide and botanist Colette Jacono, Ph.D., on Saturday, March 19 at 9am and a transitional hike from Upland Forest down to Spring Run Swamp on Sunday, March 20 at 9am. Admission is $20 per person. There is a $5 parking fee at the site, and carpooling is encouraged.

The annual guided paddle will be on Saturday, March 26 at 10am. The Upper Santa Fe/Olustee Creek paddle tour will be an up-and-back paddle on the upper Santa Fe River. The first half of the tour is against a light current that paddlers will barely feel. The return back downstream (going with the current) will end the trip at the same launch site. Paddle time, including a brief lunch/stretch break, is about 3-3.5 hours. 

The tour will be on a little-known section of the Santa Fe River, above the River Sink and O’Leno Park. We will paddle to (if water levels allow), a short way beyond the confluence of Olustee Creek, This charming reach of the upper Santa Fe is characterized by a wide channel with high, sandy banks. Reserve your place early, as this event historically sells out quickly. 

Admission to the song contest is $10 per person, ages 12 and under free. Plant Hikes are $20 per person (plus parking). Tickets can be purchased in advance at <>. Tickets to the Upper Santa Fe/Olustee Creek Paddle are $60 per person, including vessel, or $40 per person with one’s own vessel. They must be purchased directly through Adventure Outpost by calling 386-454-0611. 

Bring plant hike or paddle tickets to the song contest to receive $5 off food and beverage tickets. All proceeds support Our Santa Fe River, Inc.

For information on events, sponsorship opportunities, ticket purchasing, or volunteering, visit <>

People power stops upzoning near Depot Park

by Tana Silva

On Feb. 22, an outpouring of concern about Gainesville’s future turned back a private initiative to allow maximum development beside Depot Park. The stakes were high and the vote consequential, yet no news media covered the city commission special meeting in advance. Still, remarkably, people showed up and called in to address the commission, three minutes at a time, and collective wisdom prevailed. 

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Updates from Alachua County Labor Coalition

by Sheila Payne, Alachua County Labor Coalition Board Member

The Alachua County Labor Coalition is shaking off the Covid blahs and continuing our work on housing and legal system transformation advocacy. 

We just elected a whole new slate of enthusiastic Executive Board members at our in-person and virtual membership meeting on Feb. 15. We continue to add liaison and representatives from each of our 24 member organizations to sit on the executive board. There are calls to get involved in helping to organize some folks interested in union organizing.

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A dramatization of Jim Crow, civil rights years in Gainesville

by Pam Smith

On Friday, March 18, at 7 pm, the Cotton Club will present a YouTube dramatization of a rich part of Gainesville’s history—the firsthand experience of eight women, six black and two white, who lived in Gainesville during the Jim Crow and civil rights years. 

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Bob Graham Center for Public Service events

March 15 | 6pm | In Person
NATO’s Enduring Alliance and the Russo-Ukraine Crisis

The NATO alliance has endured despite continuous predictions of collapse. Now it’s facing a moment of crisis as leaders grapple with a solution to the Russo-Ukraine conflict. Join international relations expert Timothy Sayle of the University of Toronto for this timely and in-person lecture examining the historical connections between NATO’s Cold War inception and the crisis of today. Sayle is the author of Enduring Alliance: A History of NATO and the Postwar Global Order (2019). A Livestream link is also available at <>

March 17 | 6pm | Zoom
Harvard  author Vincent Brown speaks on ‘Tacky’s Revolt’

Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War is a superb geopolitical thriller that traces the roots, routes, and reverberations of the largest slave insurrection in the 18th century British Empire. Join our conversation with author Dr. Vincent Brown, professor of African and African-American studies at Harvard University, as he looks at how the insurrection of enslaved West Africans in Jamaica reverberated across the Atlantic. Register now at <> 

Sunshine State Book Festival

The Writers Alliance of Gainesville is pleased to announce the 3rd annual Sunshine State Book Festival that will bring readers and writers together on April 9 and 10. The two-day event is free and open to the public.

North Central Florida’s cultural landscape is enhanced by this annual event, produced by the Writers Alliance of Gainesville with support from local sponsors. Come enjoy the festival—rain or shine.

Saturday’s festival will be held in the Oaks Mall on West Newberry Road immediately east of I-75 in Gainesville. It begins at 11am and goes until 5pm.

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Health insurance Navigator Program

Need help getting health insurance? Health Insurance Marketplace Navigators are standing by. Suwannee River Area Health Education Center Navigators provide outreach and enrollment services to anyone looking to enroll for health care coverage in the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace. 

We assist consumers with confidential telephone, virtual, and online enrollment service appointments. Our services are completely FREE. 

Call 386-230-9400 or email to book your appointment today. 

Traditional Medicare will soon be taken over by Wall Street

by Marilyn Eisenberg

Many of us retired folks in the progressive community have signed in to the publicly funded traditional Medicare plan with or without supplements. Even though Medicare Advantage plans offer attractive perks to well retirees, we all know that for serious illnesses and injuries, these plans fall apart. 

Medicare Advantage plans find devious ways of not covering the expenses they had promised, usually invoking the not-in-network excuses causing many ‘surprise’ bills to their hapless recipients. 

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Tools to quit tobacco

Quitting tobacco isn’t easy. Finding help should be. If you are ready to quit, join our Tools to Quit Tobacco group. This free one-time, two-hour group will give you tips on how to deal with triggers, withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapse. 

You will also receive up to four weeks of free nicotine patches, gum or lozenges. This group more than doubles your chance of quitting for good. Pre-registration is required. 

Our next TTQ is Thursday, March 17 from 5:30-7:30pm at Pride Community Center of North Central Florida. Virtual options are also available on the computer or over the phone. 

Call 866-341-2730 to reserve your spot.

‘Save Academic Freedom’ Teach-In at Plaza of Americas

Wednesday, March 23, 10:30-1:30 (time tentative)
UF campus, The Plaza of Americas

The Free UF coalition, a coalition of students, staff, and faculty fighting against censorship at the University of Florida, is hosting a teach-in on Wednesday, March 23 at the Plaza of Americas. 

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Dissident parties continue to fight against ‘the System’

UF student elections: Gator Party sweeps Change Party, Communist Party

by Aron Ali-McClory

Over the past month, the spring 2022 elections at the University of Florida were held, with 50 Senate seats proportioned to the university’s various colleges at stake, as well as the lucrative “executive ticket,” composed of a party’s presidential, vice presidential, and treasurer candidates.

Three political parties  were running candidates for the Student Senate: Communist Party, Change Party, and Gator Party. The latter two parties both fielded executive ticket candidates – the Communist Party did not. The Change Party made history by fielding UF’s first all Black, queer, and femme slate of candidates for their executive ticket.

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From the publisher … Troubling Times

by Joe Courter

This is one of these times where writing this column has so many items of concern in flux. 

The horror show of right wing arrogance that is the Florida legislature is in full swing until March 11. In a state where active and effective gerrymandering has a completely stacked deck against the Democrats, the Republicans are going after abortion rights in such an unempathetic way, not even allowing exemptions for rape, incest or human trafficking. And they seem to be getting away with it without large public outcry. 

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Mama’s Club presents: The early days of women’s liberation in Gainesville

by Pam Smith

Mama’s Club will host a Zoom presentation of four women’s experience of being part of the beginning of the Women’s Liberation Movement in Gainesville on Saturday, March 19 from 4pm to 6pm.

Gainesville was one of five cities in the world that gave birth to this phenomena that continues to transform relationships and institutions including governments.

The Women’s Liberation Movement had its beginning in the Civil Rights Movement. It was in a civil rights office in Georgia that one afternoon a woman asked the other women in the movement office to stay after work to talk about their position in the Civil Rights Movement. 

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Gainesville Veterans for Peace Scholarship Program for Alachua County students

Deadline for Application is April 27

Gainesville Veterans for Peace Chapter 14 is excited to announce our 8th annual Peace Scholarship Program for the spring of 2022. We are awarding three college and/or vocational scholarships of $1,000 each for high school seniors, college students or adults with a commitment to activities including immigrant rights, Black Lives Matter, conflict resolution and/or nonviolent social change.

Veterans for Peace created these scholarships to give financial support to students in Alachua County, Florida who are planning careers in pursuit of a world of peace with justice.

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Ukraine and the myth of war

Ukraine should not have to suffer invasion by Russia. And Russia should not have had its safety and security threatened by NATO expansion and weaponry.

Iguana Editor’s Note: The makers of war are the enemy. It is they who set the stage. It is they who pursue ideology over compromise and cooperation. It is they who value power and nationalistic ego over diplomacy. It is they who build up the stockpiles of armaments along with governments who provide the directives and funding. 

In 1953 President Eisenhower said, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” 

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March 2022 Gainesville Iguana

The March 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.

Forward to the Past

By Santiago De Choch

“Back to the Future” is a 1985 film featuring Michael J. Fox as teenager Marty McFly, who travels 30 years back in time, to 1955. While there, he interferes with his young parents’ meeting, and has to amend his mistake by making sure they meet and marry, lest himself is never born and thus erased from history. The movie was a success and is still a pleasure to watch, but this article is not about it. It’s about energy, and agriculture.

In 1955, US oil extraction was about 2.5 billion barrels per year. In 1970, domestic production peaked at 3.5 billion. In Marty McFly’s 1985, it was back to roughly 2.5 bbls/yr, and in decline. By 2015, most easily recoverable oil was gone, but an infusion of cheap credit was financing another upward surge, this time fueled by more problematic, dangerous and difficult reserves: deep sea, previously protected natural areas, and especially, fracking. At 3 bbls/yr, the shale oil boom peaked in 2015, short of the 1970 all-time high, and has been in decline since. 

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