Category Archives: May-June 2022

VFP Hosts 12th Annual Peace Poetry Reading and Reception, May 21

On Saturday, May 21, 26 students from Alachua County schools will read their peace poems aloud at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship as winners of the 2022 Peace Poetry Contest.

The 12th annual Peace Poetry Contest began in January, inviting all K-12 students of Alachua County schools, both public and private, to submit one poem on what peace and social justice means to them. A team of community writers and poets judged the almost 200 poems submitted, according to age group.

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VFP Awards $1,500 to four Peace Scholarship Recipients

This year, Veterans for Peace in Gainesville is pleased to award four $1,500 Peace Scholarship awards, a college scholarship program for Alachua County students. The scholarship competition was open to eligible high school seniors, college students, and adults who need financial support to succeed in college and who have demonstrated a commitment and leadership in activities involving peace and social justice and/or nonviolent social change.

Peace scholarship applicants were asked to provide a brief autobiographical statement and evidence of leadership and/or personal initiative in activities in an organization (including volunteer or paid work) relating to peace and social justice, conflict resolution and/or nonviolent social change. Applicants were also asked to provide two letters of recommendation. In the end, VFP awarded peace scholarships to four students in the amount of $1,500 each. The scholarships were awarded to:

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CMC Springboard event: Professor Lorna Bracewell to discuss new book: ‘a gripping social history of feminist political theory’

Who: Dr. Lorna Bracewell, Flagler College professor
What: Book talk on Why We Lost the Sex Wars: Sexual Freedom in the #MeToo Era.
Where: Civic Media Center, 433 S. Main St., Gainesville
When: Saturday, June 4, 6:30pm
Cost: $10 (donation) students, $20 (donation) others

by the CMC Board

Please join the Civic Media Center Board on Saturday, June 4, at 6:30pm, to hear Dr. Lorna Bracewell discuss her new book, Why We Lost the Sex Wars: Sexual Freedom in the #MeToo Era

Dr. Bracewell’s book is a timely and urgent reconsideration of feminist debates on sexual freedom in the 1990s. An important intervention into feminist history, Why We Lost the Sex Wars traces utopian attempts to redefine the imagination of sex and sexual freedom, and the ensuing debates that still influence us today.

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CMC Hiring

CMC Coordinator Position Opening!

Do you know and love the Civic Media Center?

Would you like to apply for the coordinator position?

Job opening in June-July, 25 hours a week, $15/hour.

Computer skills, people skills and self-directed work ethic a must. Strong social justice commitment, too.

Send resume and brief cover letter of background to:

History and the people who make it: David Payne

This transcript excerpt illustrates race and gender intersectionality in the classroom through the recollections of Mr. David Payne, who attended the University of Florida and worked as a teacher in the Orange County school district. He was interviewed on December 6, 2014, by Drs. Justin Dunnavant and Ryan Morini [M] for the SPOHP’s African American History Project.

This is the 68th in a series of transcript excerpts from the UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program collection.

Transcript edited by Yiorgo Topalidis. 

M: Could you state when you were born?

Payne: January 28, 1942.

M: And where were you born?

Payne: I’m a Floridian who was born in Kentucky. University of Florida, the tuition my first year was ninety dollars a semester. As many classes as you wanted to take. My older sister, who enrolled in the University of Florida in 1951 as a junior, was like in only the fifth class that accepted women.

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The Ten Commitments promoting a democratic world

by Joe Courter

A few weeks ago I was at First Magnitude enjoying a music show by Sooza, and at break I had a conversation with a college-age Iguana reader and supporter who raised an interesting point. He said that in some of the articles there is not a positive side, an alternative vision of how things could be made better instead of just pointing out what was wrong. I hoped to but did not hear back from them … I expect finals got in the way … but my quick response at the time was that it was up to each of us to see a positive angle or interpretation in how to deal with information and the world. 

Shortly after, I saw this poster in the Spring 2022 New Humanist magazine and thought it was relevant to what I was trying to say. 

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WGOT is off the air

by Fred Sowder, WGOT Volunteer

In my last article here about your community radio station, I had no intention of my premonition coming true, but here we are. By the time you’re reading this, WGOT may still be off the air due to a server crash that happened in late April.

We still continue to seek assistance by a tech support person. We run servers on Ubuntu Linux, so knowledge of that operating system would be a plus. Once we get our old server back running, we have a newer server that we’ve had for a couple of years that needs to be put into service. 

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Is Gainesville development out of control? This is not what democracy looks like

by Lee Malis

A massive parking garage on 5th Avenue to serve luxury college apartments was built on Seminary Lane land, bought with HUD money intended to house low income residents. Homes had been demolished with promises of rebuilding — instead the land was sold to an Orlando developer. This neighborhood is the historical heart of the Black community of Gainesville. 
Photo by Lee Mallis.

Since 2016 there seems to be an assault on Gainesville. For those of us who remember what it was like before, it’s hard to believe this is the same town we’ve known forever. Gainesville was known as a Tree City USA for good reason. We had a beautiful city with a healthy tree canopy of mature hardwoods. There were mandates for green spaces, setbacks, parking, and density. But that’s all changing. Now if you drive down University Ave., 13th St., or NW 5th Ave., or visit Porter’s Quarters or downtown, you see massive development everywhere. This is because our city government has been changing the rules to make Gainesville developer-friendly. 

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Help make Medicare for All a reality

By Gaby Gross, Alachua County Labor Coalition, and Candy Birch, Medicare for All, Florida

Everyone living in the U.S. deserves high quality healthcare. No one should suffer poor health because they can’t afford to see a doctor or buy medication that they need. However, almost half of Floridians—including those with insurance—could not afford needed healthcare; about a third who did get necessary care struggled to pay their medical bills

The Alachua County Labor Coalition has joined Medicare for All Florida. Its goal is to remedy this dire situation by building support for the Medicare for All Act of 2021, HR1976. To do this, residents are asked to get cities and counties to pass resolutions in support of the bill and send those resolutions to Federal legislators. A proposed resolution has been submitted to the Gainesville City Commission and will be heard sometime in August. 

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A brief history of a negotiation: Graduate students vs. University of Florida

by Antonios Kyriazis, GAU member

The Graduate Assistants Union (GAU) at the University of Florida (UF) has been bargaining with the university for six months now for a higher wage. Their story has been an odyssey, with many ups and downs, and has highlighted the exploitative practices on the workforce of one of the nation’s largest universities. 

The background

Let’s start with some numbers: UF has broken in to the top 5 list of public research universities this year, it brought over $860 million in research funding in 2021, has an endowment of $2.29 billion, has been hiring new faculty members, has increased the salary of out-of-unit administrators an average 8.2 percent in the period 2018-2021 and is currently building a 263,000 square foot data science department. So, why can it not give its graduate students a living wage?

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VFP remembers Memorial Mile with information table 

Who: Gainesville Veterans for Peace
What: Info Table
Where: NW 8th Ave. & NW 31st St., Gainesville
When: Memorial Day, Monday, May 30

Since 2007, the Gainesville chapter of Veterans for Peace has mounted a major Memorial Day display of tombstones for each American troop killed as a result of the US wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. Now that the US military has withdrawn from both nations, and  — so far as we know — has ceased attacking them with missiles and bombs as well — the chapter has called off the display.

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From the publisher … 2022 heating up in many ways

by Joe Courter

First off, a big thank you to the Supreme Court leaker, regardless of their intent, who has certainly given a jolt to the slow whittling of abortion rights, which seemed to be slipping away without much fightback. 

A big alarm clock has just gone off. 

These so-called conservative justices were lying through their teeth while under oath with those words about “settled law” regarding Roe during the confirmation hearings. We can be heartened by the big turnout on short notice at our court house and around the country less than a day after the revelations were made. Now, can we build on and sustain the outrage to organize a massive voter turnout in November, and make it more than a moment, but a movement?

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The August 23 elections … No complacency!

by Joe Courter

You’ve heard this before, but it’s worth reminding yourself of the power of your vote. There is POWER in your vote. We need that power more than ever. Not just in November, but in August. Our August elections will not only shape the field but will in many cases be the deciding factor for many of our local seats.

While the City Commission districts have not been officially finalized, we are starting to become familiar with many of the folks running and who they could represent. With the Mayor’s race and three Commission seats on the ballot, an unprecedented majority swing is possible, shaping the voice and direction of our city.

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May/June 2022 Gainesville Iguana

The May/June 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.

Editors’ picks: News that didn’t fit

‘Absolutely Tragic’: Doctors tie Trump’s 30-foot border wall to surge in injuries and deaths
by Jessica Corbett | Common Dreams | April 30 |
“We’re seeing injuries we didn’t see before: pelvic fractures, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, and a lot of open fractures when the bone comes through the skin,” said a San Diego doctor.

Algeria’s war of independence (50-minute audio)
from The History Hour | BBC News | May 2 |
Sixty years after Algeria’s independence from France, first-hand accounts of a traumatic ‘birth of a nation’: a female Algerian bomber who was part of the battle for Algiers; how the French military responded with brutal tactics; a massacre on the streets of Paris; and reprisals against Algerians who fought alongside the French. Plus, the flowering of a national spirit through football.

ALU Staten Island: Labor movement resurgence (5:46-minute video)
by Dave Lippman | YouTube | April 25 |
Friend of Iguana Dave Lippman sent in this video: Amazon Labor Union (ALU), having won the election at the JFK8 Staten Island warehouse, looks to their second vote this week at the adjacent LDJ5 warehouse. Supportive unions and politicians rally at the site.

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