From the publisher … Double whammy

by Joe Courter

We are having a double whammy within a worldwide event. What started it and who is suffering? We humans. 

Animals and plants are okay, there is no physical infrastructure to rebuild. Covid 19: our technology gave us a great head start on seeing it coming, and even a body of research to similar viruses. Unfortunately another aspect of our technology — our ability to travel by air, sea and rail — has allowed the virus to get out into and around the world.

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Coping in GVN during COVID-19 

by Joe Courter

Here we are in our holding pattern. So much of the last Iguana is still quite relevant, so if you didn’t see it you can find it at the website

Please support our advertisers; some are still open to serve you, others like Flashbacks and Third House have had to wait out the shut-down. (You can still order books through Third House, though.) 

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Fix Florida’s unemployment insurance system now!

by Jeremiah Tattersall
Field Staff, Florida AFL-CIO, North Central Florida Central Labor Council

The novel coronavirus has thrown Florida’s fragile economy into disarray, and tens of thousands of Floridians are facing sudden job losses and personal financial crises. Simply put, the State of Florida must do everything in its power to stave off the severity of an economic downturn and support working people. 

But Florida’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) system is on the front line of this economic crisis and it simply isn’t up to the task. 

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Community Immigration Mutual Aid fighting for undocumented workers, families

by Cristina Cabada Sidawi, Alachua Cty. Labor Coalition Coordinator

COVID-19 affects everyone, it does not discriminate on immigration status. Yet, relief responses by the federal government have proved to discriminate immigrants and have left them out. Over the past couple of months, all of us have experienced the debilitating consequences of the pandemic, however, we face these consequences differently. 

This pandemic has brought great stress to our community and has inflicted even greater stress to the immigrant families in our community. Many of these immigrant families have faced layoffs and some have had to continue working in conditions that are not safe. 

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New Alachua County collective: Make housing a human right

by Ashley Nguyen, Alachua County Labor Coalition Coordinator

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak upon Gainesville’s most vulnerable communities, several community members and students from the University of Florida have stepped up in efforts to alleviate the hardships brought on by these unprecedented times. 

Gainesville Houseing Justice <> is a collective formed when it became clear that landlords within Alachua County would not be providing the rent relief that is integral to Gainesville’s adjustment to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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May/June 2020 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.

Coalition calls for sustainable, equitable food at UF

by Ashley Nguyen

The world’s leading experts — from the United Nations to the Lancet Medical Journal— have released studies stating that in order to avoid the worst  impacts of climate change, there needs to be a call for the world to limit greenhouse-gas intensive foods through shifts to healthier and more sustainable diets. 

These findings also come amidst growing climate protests led by young people across the country and the world demanding stronger action on climate change. 

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Civic Media Center SpringBoard postponed

It had all come together so well, the date, the speaker, the place. We were in the midst of planning the food when the Coronavirus invaded like little alien ships attacking the humans of Earth. So we had to postpone SpringBoard. And, as well, the CMC has had to postpone all events except the Free Groceries on Tuesdays.

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A call to prevent coronavirus from entering the county jail

Freedom from Cages is a Public Health Issue: Legal Experts, Healthcare Professionals, and Local Activists Urge Action to Immediately Decrease Alachua Jail Population In Order to Save Lives Amid COVID-19 Crisis.

We, the undersigned organizations and Commissioners, urge the State Attorney’s Office, the Eighth Judicial Circuit Judges, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, and law enforcement across Alachua County to significantly reduce the incarcerated population.

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History and the people who make it: Byllye Avery – Part 2

Byllye Avery [BA], feminist health activist, was interviewed by Deidre Houchen [H] in May, 2012.

This is the second part of this interview, and 58th in a series of transcript excerpts from the UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program collection.

Transcript edited by Pierce Butler.

H: How long were you in Atlanta?

BA: About fifteen, sixteen years. It was wonderful. Moving to Atlanta was just incredible.

H: What year was that?

BA: 1981. When I moved to Atlanta, I knew I had to organize Black Women’s Health Project. 

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Earth Day turns 50: yesterday, today and tomorrow

by Carol Mosley

Earth Day, as we know it, was first celebrated in the U.S. in 1970 and brought millions across the globe out of classrooms and work places into the streets to bring environmental concerns to the forefront.

This year on April 22nd Earth Day will turn 50 years old. We’ve come a long way over the decades in some areas, but have lost ground in others, such as species decline, and we have a long way yet to go.

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Remembering Granny

by Joe Courter

Most people simply knew her as Granny, a tall skinny older woman who had lived on the streets of downtown Gainesville for many years. All of us were shocked, after not seeing her around for a few weeks, to learn she had been killed while on her bicycle on January 30. As it was a hit and run, and she had no family to notify, word did not get out until March 2 when the police ran her picture in the paper trying to track down the hit and run driver who had killed her.

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In Memoriam: Herschel Hugh Elliot

by Dwight Bradley

Dr. Herschel Hugh Elliott passed away at his Gainesville homestead on Feb. 16. He came into the world a century ago, on Feb. 6, 1920, in Connecticut farmhouse. How he arrived turned out to be a predictor of how he lived: the old fashioned way, at home, during a blizzard, without doctor or midwife. Hertha Bogenhagen, his mother, came from a family of German immigrants who homesteaded in Nebraska. Richard Travis Elliott, his father, grew up under rough circumstances on the frontier in South Dakota. But this was an era of great mobility. By the time Herschel came along, his parents were living in a parsonage in Connecticut. Spolier alert: Herschel ended up an atheist.

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Music scene apocalypse tunes Gainesville

by Jacob Adams

Gainesville’s music scene has changed immeasurably since the outbreak of COVID-19 led to local guidance, and eventually mandates, that shut down the bars, restaurants and venues where a large portion of shows take place. Even DIY house venues have stopped hosting shows out of an abundance of caution. 

Service industry jobs have evaporated as well, causing many of those who work in the service and entertainment sectors to lose their primary sources of income; the overlap among musicians and service workers is notable. 

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Coronavirus pandemic resources, guidelines

by James Thompson

In response to the COVID-19 or “Coronavirus” pandemic, the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners has issued Emergency Order 2020-09 to “Stay at Home and Close all Non-Essential Businesses.” The orders include the towns and cities of Gainesville, Monteocha/LaCrosse, Hawthorne, Alachua, Archer, Waldo, Micanopy, High Springs, and Newberry, as well as the rural and unincorporated parts of the County. Grocery stores, gas stations, banks, auto and bicycle repair, hardware, medical facilities, and other essential services remain open, but with proximity protocols in place.

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From the publisher … Publishing in the time of COVID-19

by Joe Courter

Setting about this task right now is surreal. We are all so off from our life rhythms. The town is so shut down, so a limited press run is in order. You subscribers, and those of you who have picked the Iguana up from wherever, I hope you are staying safe and unscathed from this outbreak of our tiny viral adversaries, facilitated by our fellow humans who assist them into our bodies either inadvertently or with careless disregard.

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ELECTIONS past and future

by Joe Courter

The recent city commission elections in the city came out as hoped with Arreola and Ward retaining seats and Saco joining the commission. As far as the presidential primary, Bernie lost to Biden, but he came in second with over 40 percent, and that was the highest percentage vote for Sanders in any county in the Florida. So it goes …

Looking ahead, the primaries for the November election are contested in August. They will be party-based closed primaries for most offices, and wide open primaries for nonpartisan offices such as school board and judges. It is really important to get the best candidates in to challenge the Repubs in the fall, and worthy of working to register people to vote, as well. 

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Community love in the time of COVID

by Anna Prizzia

The recent COVID 19 crisis has high­lighted that we have been relying on the most vulnerable – the nurse, the food service worker, the factory worker, the janitor, the teacher, the activist, the undocumented, the social worker, the farmer – to keep our economy moving. 

Even though these workers are showing that they are vital to our daily lives, they have often benefited the least, fighting for basic benefits and living wages. 

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April 2020 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.

SAVE THE DATE — CMC SpringBoard, April 4

Saturday, April 4, will be the Civic Media Center’s annual SpringBoard event.

Guest speaker: Dr. Zoharah Simmons

Topic: The Radical Martin Luther King

As an organizer with SNCC in Mississippi in the mid 1960s, Dr. Simmons saw, first hand, the evolution of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as world events and his interactions with others in the Civic Rights Movement changed and expanded his political thinking and actions. 

Location: Forage Hall at Working Food,  219 NW 10th Ave.

Socializing and dinner: 6-9pm

Donation requested (it’s a fundraiser, folks): sliding scale of $25-$50 (but no one turned away for less)

Advance tickets at CMC (cash or check) or Third House Books (cash only). You may also obtain tickets through Eventbrite at:

Or by mail … and if you can’t come, donations are obviously welcome anyway at the Civic Media Center, 433 S. Main St., Gainesville, FL 32601