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. 

Continue reading

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

Webinar: Tuesday, April 19, 2pm
Registration: bit.ly/LookingAhead-RSVP

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. 

Continue reading

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. 

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

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? 

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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 <oursantaferiver.org>. 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 <oursantaferiver.org>

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. 

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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. 

Continue reading

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 <tinyurl.com/bdh92vds>

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 <tinyurl.com/46ymaj73> 

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.

Continue reading

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 navigator@srahec.org 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. 

Continue reading

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. 

Continue reading