VOLUME IX, ISSUE III
SPRING 2017 FREE
alized Margin ties ni commu o arm t o t k o lo lves in themse mbers, u n r e t grea p. 27
Gainesville's first medical marijuana dispensary is now open, p. 20
n searching for inspiration for this editor’s letter, I found myself looking back at editor’s letters from several issues ago. Most are introductions (a timid hello from a new editor) and some are goodbye’s from editors after a long (or short) stint on the board. After pouring over several issues and iterations, I found myself smiling, recalling all the setbacks and struggles from each issue I was lucky to be a part of. I don’t want to send off my last editor’s letter talking about all the memories I’ve had with The Fine Print over the past four years. Instead, I want to leave you all with a glimmer of what (I hope) will be in the nottoo-distant future: Official non-profit incorporation. 501(c)-dom. My vision for The Fine Print is a sustainable one. One where we can afford to work in our own office space, and not take up tables at the local coffee shop or cram into a living room. One where staffers can get paid and investigations can be funded. One where we can commission artists for their time and work. While benefit shows and weekly
farmer’s markets help os cushion our budget, sustaining ourselves on scraps while putting in maximum time and effort just isn’t going to cut it. I hope for us to garner more donations, more community support and obtain national funding — something we’re ineligible for right now. Gainesville needs an institution that values long-form journalism. A publication that covers the underdogs (M.A.M.A.’s club), rehashes Florida’s shameful history (Rosewood), and brings it back to pressing current issues (medical marijuana and gun control). Heck, North Florida needs it. With enough support and funding, I envision something bigger for this little paper. I hope you do, too. To help us financially, visit our website and donate. To help us in other ways, pass on this issue to a friend, coworker or stranger and help us tell our stories.
RISAEINST AG THE CHINE MA
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02 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | thefineprintmag.org
Sirene Dagher Michael Holcomb Jordanne Laurito Vincent McDonald Maddie Ngo Ali Sundook
Shannon Nehiley Ingrid Wu
Creative Writing Editor
Anne Marie Tamburro
Molly Minta Sarah Senfeld
Social Media Director
Molly Minta Maddie Ngo Sarah Senfeld Anne Marie Tamburro
Our mission is to serve the Gainesville community by providing an independent outlet for political, social and arts coverage through local, in-depth reporting.
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WINTER 2017 FREE
thefineprintmag ISSUE VOLUME IX,
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IN THIS ISSUE
Cover art by Ingrid Wu.
COLUMNS Monthly Manifesto, p. 05 The organization behind Gainesville's sanctuary city movement.
Read up, Chow Down, p. 08 Tamal brings street-style Mexican food to Gainesville.
Homestead Instead, p. 14 Natural bodily functions shouldn't break the bank.
Opinion, p. 06 Journalism needs to go beyond factchecking Trump's administration.
Simply Science, p. 12 The efforts to bring back Florida's orchids population.
Art & Literature, p. 34 Poetry by Heather Starratt & Claudia Conger. Photo by Madisyn Alberry.
SPOTLIGHTS M.A.M.A.'s Got It Goin' On, p. 16 A new space for art, activism and events needs help opening its doors.
Smoke and Mirrors, p. 20 Do you qualify for a medical marijuana card?
Partners in Crime, p. 18 UF's food service provider has a shady past with state prisons.
Trial and Error, p. 22 The pathway to citizenship is long and winding. We break it down for you.
FEATURES Power Outrages, p. 24 What's all the controversy around your utility bills about?
Standing Tall, p. 30 Remembering the Rosewood Massacre 94 years later.
Gunning For It, p. 27 Marginalized communities are turning to firearms for empowerment. Smoke and Mirrors, p. 20X
Read Up, Chow Down, p. 08
FEATURED STAFFER Eva Sailly
Eva Sailly is a University of Florida advertising senior and aspiring illustrator. She enjoys a good bowl of ramen, 70s rock and soul, and dark comedy films. This summer, Eva plans to photograph and travel up the coast of California. She has no idea what sheâ€™ll do with her life after graduation, but hopes it will all work out in the end. Spring 2017 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 03
COLUMN / PAPERCUTS
Paper Ouch! That hurts, doesn’t it? Paper Cuts are our short, erratic and slightly painful updates on current, local and national events. See our website for more Paper Cuts at thefineprintmag.org.
RA D IO H AC K Researchers at the University of Michigan and University of South Carolina recently discovered how to hack anything from a smartphone to a car by using sound waves to manipulate accelerometers, tiny chips that measure acceleration by sensing vibrations. Accelerometers are common in a variety of consumer devices, and the way they respond to sound presents the possibility for hackers to remotely control such devices undetected. The chips are made up of axis-based motion sensing, which are used in cars to deploy airbags and in fitness monitors to measure distance traveled. The team started the project on accelerometers by researching for vulnerabilities in hardware components to protect against hackers, hoping to find more answers about the effectiveness of current cybersecurity measures. In one trial, using only sound waves emitted from a $5 speaker, the researchers tricked an unmoving Fitbit into adding thousands of fake steps. In another, they figured out how to control a smartphone’s accelerometer simply by playing a malicious music file on the phone’s own speaker. Once they had control over the phone, the researchers were able to pilot an appcontrolled toy car by altering the readings from the accelerometer. “It’s like the opera singer who hits the note to break a wine glass, only in our case, we can spell out words,” said Kevin 04 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | thefineprintmag.org
Fu, one of the project’s researchers. “You can think of it as a musical virus.” The results are relatively minor, but they demonstrate the need for stronger security measures. The team’s research points out possible cybersecurity vulnerabilities with common, everyday household devices. The interferences could even extend to more drastic devices that also depend on accelerometers, like self-driving vehicles or machines that control the automation of insulin dosages. So if one day a song you’ve never downloaded before starts playing, beware. It could be a hacker trying to orchestrate their way into your phone.• By Maddie Ngo
OU T OF SIT E As of April 2, more than 100 gay men have been detained and three men killed by police in Chechnya, a predominantly Muslim federal republic ruled by Russia. The men were detained after the Moscowbased gay rights group GayRussia applied for permits in March to stage gay pride parades in Russia’s North Caucasus region, of which Chechnya is a part. GayRussia expected the applications to be denied and planned to present them to the European Court of Human Rights as evidence of human rights abuses. The resulting anti-gay demonstrations galvanized the police, who began posing as men looking for dates on social media sites,
according to reports from Novaya Gazeta, a privately owned Russian newspaper known for its investigative reporting. To make matters worse, the Chechen government is denying reports by dismissing them as April Fools’ jokes or going so far as to deny that gay people exist in Chechnya at all. “You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the first place,” a spokesperson for Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov told Interfax, a Russian news agency. Though Islam is the predominant religion in Chechnya, homosexuality wasn’t made illegal until Russia conquered the territory in the 1800s. Today, the region is torn between three competing powers: the remnants of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, the unrecognized secessionist government that’s indifferent toward sexuality; the Caucacus Emirate, a jihadist organization that views homosexuality as immoral; and the current Russian-backed government, which wants to execute queer people. While Russia is not behind the arrests, Russian President Vladimir Putin has passed legislation banning “gay propaganda,” which has been used to persecute LGBTQ people. The Russian LGBT Network is currently evacuating people from the region and organizing an appeal to the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation to demand that information about the crimes be published in mass media. • By Molly Minta
COLUMN / MONTHLY MANIFESTO
Interfaith Alliance for Immigrant Justice BY RICHARD MACMASTER, COORDINATOR
hen rumors of Immigrations, Customs and Enforcement raids in Gainesville spread last month, concerned citizens and media representatives came to the Interfaith Alliance for Immigrant Justice (IAIJ) meeting at Emmanuel Mennonite Church that night. Over the next few weeks they developed plans for a sanctuary church to shelter endangered families with a dozen other supporting congregations and some sixty committed volunteers. IAIJ had its beginnings in another crisis in 2009. Would the Florida Legislature follow Arizona’s example and pass a harsh anti-immigrant law? That seemed a real possibility as lawmakers convened in Tallahassee for the 2010 session. Here in Gainesville, a group of recent UF graduates—who had been active in campus protests to nudge Aramark, the UF food service provider, into signing the CIW’s Fair Food Program— talked about what they could do to stop this. They came to the conclusion that campus groups could not carry on the struggle for justice by themselves. Someone needed to organize the community for immigrant rights and farm worker justice. Churches, synagogues and mosques seemed the place to start. Kimberly Hunter, who was active in Emmanuel Mennonite Church, took on the task of organizing Gainesville’s faith communities. Religious affiliation was never a requirement and still is not today. In its first year, IAIJ concentrated on the passage of the DREAM Act—to allow children of undocumented immigrants a path to
citizenship—and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ effort to get major tomato buyers to sign the Fair Food Agreement. In the next few years, IAIJ added educational events to build public support for comprehensive immigration reform. For several years, IAIJ arranged for the Modern Day Slavery Museum to visit Gainesville synagogues and churches and for farm workers from Immokalee to tell their story in houses of worship and in UF and Santa Fe classrooms. When a longtime Gainesville resident was stopped for a minor traffic violation, identified as an undocumented immigrant, sent to a detention center and deported, IAIJ found support in local churches for the wife and children he left here. IAIJ members had long looked for ways to visit people awaiting deportation hearings in detention centers, but had no success in interviews with authorities. IAIJ members regularly visit undocumented immigrants in the Baker County Detention Center in Macclenny as Baker Interfaith Friends and help them stay in contact with their families. The idea of making Gainesville and Alachua County welcoming communities for immigrants and refugees has long been an IAIJ initiative. • The IAIJ meets at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of every month at the Emmanuel Mennonite meeting house, 1236 NW 18th Ave.(across from Gainesville High School between the Wells Fargo and PNC banks). Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Members of the IAIJ hold signs at a rally for farmworker rights. Photo courtesty of Richard MacMaster. Spring 2017 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 05
WHAT IN MISINFORMATION BY MICHAEL HOLCOMB ILLUSTRATION BY SABRINA SIEGEL
f you've been keeping up with Fox News lately, you’ll know that Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s former senior adviser, has moved into a swanky D.C. mansion with him and Michelle. We don’t know what the new roommates are discussing at the dinner table, but Fox News, citing an authoritative report from the Daily Mail, knows they’re plotting a liberal insurgency against Trump. If you’re worried that Obama will fade from view, fear not. As Michelle and Valerie cook him dinner, he’s actually cooking up a conspiracy to take over the world.
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COLUMN / OPINION
his very likely did not happen. But in this new era in which news is widely available on the internet, it’s one of many baseless but sensational stories that have been plucked from the tabloids and run by major news outlets. There is a dangerous side to the widespread availability of information: the proliferation of disinformation. This has been accelerated—and given an official stamp—by the new administration. For example, the president recently asserted that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower before the election—an unsubstantiated claim reports indicate he likely culled from Breitbart News. This flagrant lying is far from arbitrary and may be more than just the release valve of Trump’s ego-inflated head. By delivering lies that are tailormade for slanted and sensational news sites, Trump is bolstering a distorted view of a world that lionizes his every move, ultimately mobilizing his base. The consumption of news slanted toward one’s belief increases political participation more than “balanced” or belief-changing news, according to research. With media guru Steve Bannon at the helm of a pernicious strategy to mobilize the silent majority, the Trump administration is using the press as a conduit for its attack on reality. As Trump feeds the public boldly mendacious soundbites, the president creates a space where truth and reality no longer matter. Releasing national discourse from the fetters of fact-based reality gives a convenient freedom to toxically warped ideologies like racism, sexism, Islamaphobia and xenophobia. Liberals, however, are not immune to alternate realities. Research indicates that members of the losing or minority political party are more likely to embrace conspiracy theories and dubious but belief-confirming stories (ironically, it’s likely eight years of a Democrat in the White House that primed the rightwing fringe for the falsehoods of their now-leader). If you already believe the president is orchestrating the death of democracy in our country, it’s no stretch
to think that his blocked so-called “Muslim ban” was an attempt to test the waters for a coup d’état—as a piece that was circulated widely from Medium, an open-source media site that does not fact check, claims. The persistence of misinformation stems from the principle that deeply held beliefs, even in the face of introduced facts, are hard to crack. Recent research in psychology and political communication sheds light on the way we evaluate our beliefs in the face of new information. One set of experiments found that politically-charged falsehoods continue
their loyal followers embrace them, it’s more likely that these outlets are missing the beat of their own drum. So where do we go from here? As journalist Masha Gessen writes, “The media have to find a way to tell the bigger story—the story about the lies rather than the story of the lies; and the story about power that the lies obscure.” Fact-checking Trump will only get us so far, and to rely solely on it is dangerously naive. In an apt comparison, Gessen said that factchecking Trump is like reporting on a chess player’s strategy by meticulously
Instead of just fact-checking, we need reporting that shifts the focus toward informing the public and instigating change. to shape attitudes even after they are immediately discredited—bad news for ardent fact-checkers. Another study found that individuals on either side of the climate change debate fail to incorporate information that conflicts with their beliefs but embrace information that confirms them. This means that in the face of varied scientific information, this process— called “asymmetric updating”—leads to increased political polarization. Of course, it may be difficult to introduce people to challenging information in the first place. A recent New York Times analysis (and general psychological consensus) suggests people avoid news they don’t like. Although we need facts to maintain a hold on truth and reality, they’re evidently far from enough. To combat Trump’s “war on truth,” traditional print media have so far been harnessing the power of the internet to provide real-time fact checking of the president and his mouthpieces. These outlets march with the banner of facts as if they will eventually trample the president in some sort of “gotcha” moment. This type of reporting is important, but if facts have alternatives, and people in power and
documenting that he threw each piece, one-by-one, off the board. At that point, he’s no longer playing chess. The administration is rigging a new game, so it’s time for us to stop playing by the old rules. Instead of just fact-checking, we need reporting that shifts the focus toward informing the public and instigating change. We need writers and activists to build a new narrative, one that is inclusive, based in reality, one that reflects the lived experiences of people of color, gay people, trans people, immigrants, women. We need these narratives to combat the fear and hate-mongering that spews like a leaking oil pipeline from the White House. Journalism exists to expose the systems that oppress us, like the legacy of white supremacy and patriarchy in this country. If we’re going to win any ideological battle over the next few years, fact-checking and logic-building will not be enough. This is why we at The Fine Print believe so strongly in our mission of advocacy journalism. If you don’t tell your own story, Donald Trump will tell it for you. • Spring 2017 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 07
P U D A RE
PHOTO BY KARLA ARBOLEDA
N W O D W CHO
BY AMANDA ROSA ILLUSTRATIONS BY ZIQI WANG
t exactly noon, Nick Iannelli, co-owner of Tamal, wheels out a large horse-drawn cart onto the sidewalk. A chalkboard sign hanging over the cart reads: “For You: Delicious Tamales.” Rachel Iannelli, Nick’s wife, has been rolling and steaming them all morning. Small pieces of Southwestern art and Mexican textiles are scattered around and above the open kitchen. Ten minutes after opening, a line begins to form outside— customers know to snag one early before they run out, which normally happens within the first few hours. “We’re a food truck without wheels,” Rachel said. “We make as much as we can, as good as we can and we cook ‘em off.” Long-time Gainesville residents Rachel and Nicholas Iannelli opened Tamal, on the corner of South Main Street and SE 5th Ave, last September. They specialize in Mexican-style, hand-made tamales, a traditional Central and South American dish of masa (a corn-meal dough) and assorted fillings steamed in a cornhusk. They can be eaten unwrapped on a plate or handheld walking down the street. “Everybody is super friendly, super enthusiastic, and they seem ready and wanting to engage in something new and different,” Rachel said. The menu is á la carte. Tamales cost around $3 a piece, and three to four options—like the red mole chicken
08 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | thefineprintmag.org
and ancho pork with corn—rotate each day. The sides, served and priced individually, include Nick’s famous boiled peanuts, pinto beans and rice, collard greens, an assortment of pickled vegetables and even cucumber on a stick, rolled in lime juice and bright red chili powder. Even the jamaica and tamarindo agua fresca beverages at Tamal are made from scratch, with dried hibiscus flowers and tamarind sweetened with sugar. Mainly due to Rachel’s high standards, Tamal’s almond milk horchata is only served on the weekends. There are also vegan and vegetarian options available for anyone to enjoy. The poblano, cheddar, tomato tamale — a customer favorite — is delicious enough to eat on its own, but their Tapatio hot sauce makes it absolutely killer. Tamal is also a family affair. Nick, a woodworker, built the bar counter and tables. Their son Cecil cooks and runs the register in front. For Rachel, the head chef, Mexican street food was a childhood favorite. “We both grew up in Los Angeles eating tamales for school lunches, sort of taking it for granted,” she said. For years, the Iannelli’s made tamales for family and friends on special occasions, recreating the tamales they ate together at Lopez Bakery while living in Brooklyn. Then Rachel worked in almost every restaurant in Gainesville, even a few out of business today: Coney Island, Emiliano’s, Wolfgang’s, Home On The Range and The Hardback Cafe.
COLUMN / READ UP, CHOW DOWN
Tamal VEGAN COLLARD GREENS INGREDIENTS • 1 ½ lb collard greens • 6 cups vegetable broth • 3 Tbsp olive oil • 1 large onion, medium diced • 5-10 garlic cloves, sliced thin • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes • 38 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, drained (save the juice!) and chopped roughly • Salt and pepper to taste
“I feel really thankful that the places that I worked in over the period of time that I did in Gainesville,’ she said. ‘I got to work with really creative people.” Tamal was initially funded out-of-pocket while Rachel worked as a prep cook at Crane Ramen and Nicholas continued his carpentry business. The restaurant’s Indiegogo campaign enabled the Iannelli’s to finally open Tamal’s doors to the community. Tamal is open Thursdays to Sundays, from noon until they sell out. Its Facebook page lists the weekly menu and alerts customers when they sell out for the day. In the future, Rachel wants to expand the menu to include plates and new varieties of tamales. The hardest part about running Tamal, she says, is exhaustion. She takes the days off to do bookkeeping, food preparation and ingredient shopping. But the desire to share fresh delicious food with others, she said, is all the motivation she needs. “Food comes from deep places. So give it time, is my thought,” Rachel said. “And I’m willing to give it that time, and I want to give it my time.” •
INSTRUCTIONS 1. Pour broth into a large stock pot, bring to a boil. 2. While waiting for stock to boil, wash, drain, and remove the stems of the collard leaves. Stack leaves and cut into ½ to 1 inch wide ribbon strips. 3. Drop collard ribbons into simmering stock, cook uncovered for 40 minutes. 4. Heat oil in medium skillet and saute onion on moderate heat until
translucent. Add garlic, pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Saute a few minutes more, until garlic is sufficiently fragrant, but not browned. Then, add chopped tomatoes and continue to cook gently for about 10 minutes. Finally, add the tomatoonion-garlic saute to the simmering greens. 5. Cook an additional 20 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary.
439 S Main Street Gainesville, FL 32601 Thursday-Sunday 12 p.m.to 6 p.m.
IN SEASO N AND FRESH apples carrots spinach pineapples zucchini mangoes grapefruit asparagus strawberries and more!
Spring 2017 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 09
FOR THE RECORD
Showcasing local bands, the next big thing, and all your friends.
UV-TV recently embarked on a tour of the U.S. Photo by Arlington Garrett III.
GRITTY SHOEGAZE released
March 10, 2017 The Poole Building
recorded in sounds
psych and rock key tracks
Fear, Lilith, Glass
Records; Arrow’s Aim; live shows upcoming shows
Currently on a
Rose Vastola Ian Bernacett
Sometimes things have to fall apart for better things to fall together. After finding themselves in separate bands that were all breaking up, the members of UV-TV came together to create a compelling mix of punk, psychedelic and rock. Their new LP, “Glass,” begins with a trio of short, punchy songs, each bursting in under two minutes. As it progresses, the feedback and distortion of the guitar take over, enveloping the music in an urgent tempest. Throughout, Rose Vastola’s sweet vocals cut through, a lighthouse in the storm. Though the album was released through Dead Tank Records, a label based in Canada, all of the recording sessions took place in the Poole Building, a former railroad station in downtown Gainesville. “It took us over a year to complete this record,” said Rose Vastola, who also plays bass. “We all had our own share of working on album artwork, video, photography, traveling and seeing the world; I think that’s the best.” The band worked with local artist Kane Hambrick to create the album art, which features close-up portraits that are fragmented to look like shattered mirrors. Echoing the music, it is at once splintered,
10 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | thefineprintmag.org
BY MCKENNA BEERY sharp, reflective and compellingly mysterious. “We really wanted this record to turn out as perfect as we could make it,” Vastola said. “So our first release would be something we all think is a good representation of who we are.” One of the band’s favorite tracks is the B-side standout “Glass,” which features jagged guitars cutting through a catchy, droning vocal melody. The final track, appropriately titled “Dissolve,” effectively sacrifices the god of shoegaze at the altar of punk. Before UV-TV began working on the album, they had released a demo on cassette, as well as a 7-inch split single with Shark Toys, a band from Los Angeles. The trio has performed at almost every venue in Gainesville, as well as many places in the South. This month, they embark on a tour around the U.S. ending in May. “Gainesville is great, it is a compact place that has a lot of venues, and a lot of people who are willing to put on and have shows,” said Ryan Hopewell, the drummer. “There is a pretty rich history of punk music and independence here in Gainesville. It is a great place to be able to play live.” •
THE MERMERS Get Swell Soon
HIPSTER SCOOBY-DOO SOUNDTRACK Jul. 2016
at Moathouse Recording StuDio, Black Bear Stuio, Tones’ home studio sounds like Classic surf rock with a twist inspiration Living at the beach and affinity for classic horror soundtracks key tracks Cruising down the coast, Peg Leg Hang 5 where to get it Amazon, Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube recorded
ANGSTY DAD PUNK released
Shark Tank Studios
in Gainesville sounds like
City Soundtrack inspiration
starting over Hear Again Records; edmonton. bandcamp.com
where to get it
Every beachgoer knows the feeling: It’s a sunny day at the shore—the wind is in your hair and the smell of surf is swirling in your nostrils—then those dreaded black thunderclouds roll in and the joy gives way to gloom. The Mermers, a unique entry in the Gainesville music scene, transform this sensation into sound by creating surf rock with a moody twist. “It’s the ‘Stranger Things’ version of classic surf,” said John Mamo, the band’s drummer. The Mermers were formed via social media, when the band’s guitar player Tony Tones reached out to friends to see if they had an interest in starting a group. After a few enthusiastic responses, Tones, Mamo and Ryan Bonner, who plays the organ, began jamming together. Later on, Ed DiMarco, the bassist, fell into the groove. “We like to say you can’t spell shred without Ed,” Tones said. While Tones usually pre-records tracks for the band to experiment with, each member gets to put their own spin on a song by writing their own part. The Mermer’s first album, “Get Swell Soon,” features this improvisation. “It’s a passion project that sounds really good,” Mamo said.
Tony Tones Ed DiMarco
Fransico “Kiiks” Santelli Johnny Jennings
F or E dmonton ’ s vocalist , guitarist and songwriter, Francisco “Kiiks” Santelli, finding a consistent narrative is the start to a great song. As an English teacher, he believes looking around a room tells a story better than any commentary ever could. “The last song on the previous album was basically a description of my empty apartment and everything that comes from leaving a place,” he said. The track “No” describes depressioninduced cabin fever and the triumphant feeling that comes with finally leaving the house. “Bad shit happened,” Santelli said. “I was in a point in life where I said fuck everything, I’m gonna do it differently.” With this record, Edmonton strayed away from the long, repetitive sections heard on previous records. At just over 10 minutes, the ‘90s rock inspired album is short enough to play live in its entirety. “There’s not a lot of banter,” said James Spence, the bassist. “We play the records straight on stage and [the tracks] flow very well together. It happened organically,”
BY KATHERINE CAMPIONE
The album is familiarly surf rock, but each song drips with an unnerving, gloomy element. The upbeat sounds of the guitar and drums are dragged into the unknown depths of the ocean by the organ and the bass. The tracks include the more traditional “Peg Leg Hangs 5,” which begins with a swell reminiscent of 1960s classic surf rock and is driven in a darker direction by the addition of the organ. “Cruisin’ Down the Coast” heavily features the guitar and a more erratic sound; as the song progresses, the tempo speeds up. Tones, described by Mamo as the “pun king,” creates track titles that mirror the music’s dreariness. Names such as “Sunscream” and “Pier Pressure” bring to mind a seemingly perfect beach day gone wrong. In the same vein, the band’s name is a portmanteau of the words “murmur” and “mermaid.” “It fits the vibe,” Mamo said. Because their music is strictly instrumental, the Mermers believe it has a wide appeal. The instruments give the band a mysterious ambience, especially when performing live, Tones said. “We appeal to everyone from punk heads to soccer moms,” he said. •
Rick McCauley James Spence
John Mamo Ryan Bonner
BY JESSICA RODRIGUEZ
Most of the songs start off If you’d like to see your slowly and pick band reviewed in For The up at the end. Record or if yo u want to be Fans can hear considered to play at our ne xt this in the benefit show, email second track editors@thefine printmag.org “No,” which and let us know . begins with a soft, rhythmic instrumental and a slow drum beat only to pick up with a loud guitar at the end. Recorded a little over two years ago, the album held together even as the band members moved through different milestones in life—marriage, kids and family. With “No” Edmonton created a sound to call its own. “I think if you listen to our first album it can be all over the place,” Santelli said. “I think with the second album, we kind of honed in on a sound that’s more ourselves and more consistent than previous albums, and we’ve continued with that.” •
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COLUMN / SIMPLY SCIENCE
GHOST WORLD Brandon returns for a final column to tell us about efforts to save the ghost orchid, a rare flower native to southwest Florida that’s facing the threats of poaching and urban development. BY BRANDON CORDER ILLUSTRATIONS BY ZIQI WANG
f you are afraid of ghosts, you’re probably better off staying out of the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park in southwest Florida. Hiding among the pond apples and cypresses is a phantom of a plant—a mangled mass of roots that stays invisible for most of the year before bursting forth in the summer months with a snow-white flower unlike any other in the plant kingdom. The plant, known to botanists as Dendrophylax lindenii, is a member of the orchid family, one of the largest families of flowering plants. A striking feature of the plant is its absence of noticeable leaves or stems: All of its photosynthesis occurs in its green roots. When the exceptionally showy flowers do appear, they are seemingly borne out of nowhere, like a ghost. This lends the plant its familiar name: the ghost orchid. A gem tucked away in the farthest southern reaches of the state, it is as inaccessible as a plant can be in Florida, where land is grabbed by developers from shore to shore. But despite its legendary status and firm hold in Florida lore and culture—the plant was one of the subjects of a 2002 Spike Jonze comedy—the ghost orchid is in danger, a victim of its own popularity and human development adjacent to its habitats. Estimates place the number of remaining ghost orchids in the wild at around 2,000, making it
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endangered. And the ghost orchid isn’t the only native orchid in trouble. 76 species of orchids native to Florida—over half of the 118 species that can be found in the state—are state-listed as endangered, threatened or commercially exploitable. Orchids are remarkably diverse and live in virtually every habitat across Florida. As land development further encroaches on their natural habitat, the loss of habitat and pollinators, changes in water cycling and the introduction of invasive species all put pressure on the orchid’s ability to survive. If the plants are to avoid extinction, humans need to intervene. Unraveling the secrets of the ghost orchid is a fascinating and rewarding experience for scientists who seek to conserve native orchids like Michael Kane, a professor at the University of Florida’s Department of Environmental Horticulture. “This plant has many secrets,” Kane said. “It generates more questions. I think it’s going to be a model system for orchid conservation.” As Kane and his team have learned, successfully restoring ghost orchid populations and maintaining genetic diversity hinges on being able to germinate seeds collected in the wild, rather than grow orchids from genetically identical clonal lines. However, orchid seeds are notoriously meager. They cannot germinate
COLUMN / SIMPLY SCIENCE
effectively without outside help, which comes in the form of mycorrhizal symbionts—threads of fungi living naturally on bark and in the soil that associate with plant roots to trade resources. In conjunction with researchers at Illinois College and the Chicago Botanical Garden, Kane and other researchers quantified and examined the effects of seed germination on three different species of fungus isolated from adult ghost orchid roots. “The fungus infiltrates the seed,” Kane said, “The embryo provides a source of water. They exchange nutrients and then it germinates.” Once the seedlings are growing, the next challenge is adhering the delicate plants—which consist of just photosynthetic roots—to the side of trees without covering those food-producing regions. After testing several types of material, Kane and his colleagues settled on burlap, which gives a breathable interface for the roots to grow through while maintaining a moist, mossy substrate. Several of the Kane Lab’s ghost orchids can be found growing this way in the Florida Museum of Natural History’s Butterfly Rainforest. Kane has also reintroduced wild orchids in the Florida Panther National Wildlife Preserve east of Naples, which has been a success. In June 2015, they put out 80 orchids, 90 percent of which survived after three months. Since the first study, they’ve put out 250 more orchids. While over 300 newcomers to the cypress swamps of southwest Florida is nothing to shake a stick at, on the other side of Florida, researchers are thinking much larger—and more cosmopolitan. Spearheaded by the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens, the massive Million Orchid Project seeks to engage students from over 120 public schools in
There are 36 species of orchids that can be found in Alachua County. 17 of those are endangered or threatened species. Here are a few of our local orchids: - Epidendrum magnoliae, green-fly orchid: the only local orchid that grows in trees. - Habenaria repens, water spider orchid:
Miami to flood the heart of the city with the six species of orchids that once thrived there before being all but extirpated. Jason Downing, an orchid biologist, said anecdotal evidence shows that before habitat loss and extreme poaching, trees in the Miami-Dade area were inundated with orchids. “After the construction of Henry Flagler’s railroad, orchids were some of the first natural resources removed from Miami,” Downing said. Today, many of the orchids with a historical presence in Miami are relegated to the outskirts of the urban area; only around five species of orchid can be found within the city’s sprawl. To Downing, the Million Orchid Project has twofold importance. Not only does the project follow in Fairchild’s legacy of integrating public education and scientific research into civic science projects, it also prioritizes reintroduction in the fragmented habitats of Miami’s urban matrix. In all, Downing said, 1 million individual plants from six orchid species will be reintroduced as a part of the project. Downing said he hopes that flooding the area with orchids will indirectly decrease poaching in natural areas and give Florida’s orchids a chance to flourish. Although they represent only one of the many groups of organisms at risk in Florida, the charismatic orchids are the poster child for the threat of humaninduced habitat changes and poaching. The efforts by scientists like Kane and Downing show that an integrative understanding of the plant’s biological and historical significance can, along with some community help, be a model for ensuring that, contrary to their name, these orchids don’t become ghosts.•
common orchid growing in or near ponds. - Hexalectris spicata, crested coralroot: a parasite of mycorrhizal fungi. - Spiranthes vernalis, spring ladies’ tress: common roadside orchid. - Zeuxine strateumatica, lawn orchid: introduced non-native annual from Asia. Common in mulch beds at UF in the winter.
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COLUMN / HOMESTEAD INSTEAD
How to make your period more sustainable. BY BRITTANY EVANS ILLUSTRATIONS BY AMANDA ROSA
most folks still
limit their period conversations to vague euphemisms: “that-
time-of-the-month,” cramps, bloating. Common problems that arise from To store you mainstream menstrual products, like skin irritation, vaginal discomfort and homemade pads until it’s leakage, are expected to go undisclosed and covered up. On top of the time to do laundry, we suggest: period shame, talking about serious environmental and monetary costs In a wet bag or laundry basket until posed by disposable products aren’t discussed. When talking about the it’s time to do a wash. sustainable (and cheaper!) alternatives, like cloth pads and menstrual In any kind of container full of soapy cups, embarrassment and disgust are common knee-jerk reactions. water, or a stain remover of your choice. If you want to reduce your menstruation’s environmental impact and You don’t have to throw this in the laundry save some money in the long run, but you’re not ready to part with with your clothes. tampons (or menstrual cups seem scary), consider using chlorine-free Most people will wash them along with or organic cottons ones that don’t come with a plastic or cardboard applicator. their towels, rugs or bathmats. You can also make a reusable cloth pad with no sewing experience Washing your pad with cool water whatsoever. If you don’t have a period, make one for a friend who does. and drying it on low heat, or air You can also donate it to Wild Iris’s Free Store which aims to provide free drying it, will help keep it in necessities for queer and trans people, people between housing, and those with good condition. special needs. •
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F I N E P R I N T | thefineprintmag.org
COLUMN / HOMESTEAD INSTEAD
Homemade Pad WHAT YOU’LL NEED: * Some flannel or fabric. You can use an old shirt or buy some fabric from A-1 Sewing Machine & Vacuum, or another local sewing store. The leftover fabric section is a great place to find cute patterns on the cheap. * Terry cloth or old, clean washcloths * Thread * Needle
* Optional: Metal snaps (like the ones found on baby--and adult-onesies). You can make this pattern without the “wings,” the part that folds and attaches under the underwear, and you won’t have a need for the snaps. * A basic understanding of how to sew two pieces of fabric together
These pads snap at the bottom and have adjustable absorbency. This pattern doesn’t require a sewing machine, but If you have a sewing machine, there are tons of different styles of pads you can try making, including circular, square and neatly folding pads. A Google search of “reusable pad patterns” will bring these up, and nice list of all of them can be found at tipnut.com.
WHAT TO DO: I. Cut four pieces of flannel in a long, oval “pad” shape. For more security, you can add “wings” by cutting out flaps on either side of each piece to attach under your underwear with snaps. Leave extra fabric for your seams. How big you make them depends on you, your flow, your style and probably your zodiac sign, but my advice is to make them bigger than you think you need to give yourself room for seams and human error. II. Cut the terry cloth into rectangular strips to fit in the center of the flannel pad. Since these have adjustable absorbency, just sew one or two layers of these on top of one piece of flannel using a “zig-zag stitch.” If you know what that is, it seems like the right thing to do. If you’re like me and cry as you hot-glue and ducttape everything in your life together, just do your best to attach the terry cloth to the flannel. I believe in us. III. Lay one of your flannel pieces on top of what you’ve already sewn, print side up. Then lay your other flannel piece on top of that one, print-side down. IV.
remaining pad-shaped flannel pieces and cut it in half, hot-dog style. V. You will hem straight edges of both of these pieces. Fold the edge about a quarter of an inch, sew it, fold it again and sew it again. This will help your hems from fraying. VI. Lay one of your half-pieces on top of what you have so far (pattern side down), and the other half-piece on top of it, overlapping the first one slightly. This should look like a little pocket. The pocket is where you can insert more terry cloth for extra absorbency. VII. Now sew it all together along the outside. This is why it’s important to give yourself extra fabric at the beginning. Your pad is only going to be as big as the smallest piece. VIII. Flip that baby inside out. (If you’re advanced, you can topstitch to hide the seams on the inside to keep your pad from fraying in the wash. Or if you’re tired, just deal with it another day. You’ve done enough. IX. Now you can add your tried-and-true onesie snap to the wings, but you’ll need snap pliers to do this. Velcro is another option. Spring 2017 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 15
M.A.M.A.â€™S got it going on BY LIANA ZAFRAN ILLUSTRATION BY INGRID WU
aye Williams left Gainesville 30 years ago before the colors of brick-and-mortar storefronts dotting South Main Street began to fade. White dust from construction had yet to collect in the gutters of Depot Avenue. Her neighborhood, the Porters Community, was still untouched by the University of Floridaâ€™s gentrifying forces.
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Williams, a Gainesville native and and musician, said it’s not guaranteed social justice activist, returned to M.A.M.A.’s will open. She said the Gainesville to find that the more things primary obstacle to opening M.A.M.A.’s is change, the more they stay the same. the legacy of gentrification in Gainesville, Despite the new parks which excludes black and coffee shops, “We never had support residents from owning economic forces were still from the city or state. businesses and a fair excluding Gainesville’s share of the wealth. But we always move black community. “This legacy is forward; that’s part “It’s really clear perpetuated through the that there are no Black of our history. It’s an exclusion of local black businesses on Main from the ‘insider’s obstacle, but that’s not women Street,” Williams said. club’ alliance between gonna stop us.” “Something is wrong the developers, the with that.” chamber of commerce, In response, Williams decided to the realtors and the city’s elected decisioncreate M.A.M.A.’s, a community center makers whose development plans cause for those Gainesville has historically the economic instability of the nearby displaced. Its name doubles as its mission black neighborhoods,” Levy said. statement. Each letter stands for a She points out that of the 48 board principle Williams aims to cultivate: members on Gainesville’s Chamber of music, art, movement, action. Commerce, only three are people of The space will offer programming that color, and none are women of color. reflects its mission statement. Once it’s “The result is that black-woman fully operational, M.A.M.A.’s will have ownership of business is so rarely live music, art exhibits, dance classes and accomplished in Downtown Gainesville,” teach-ins. Its ultimate goal is to bring Levy said. “Overcoming this is no easy together anyone who has felt marginalized task. It takes a village, and luckily Faye is in Gainesville through art and to teach gifted at community building.” them advocacy and organizing. Williams inspiration for M.A.M.A.’s “My hope is that we can have people stems from her encounters with many of come from the southern and eastern parts Gainesville’s different folk. of Gainesville to see a film and have a “I want it to be open to everyone and discussion,” Williams said. “We’re going I want it to be inclusive,” Williams said. to teach parents how to organize, go to “I want the people on the outside to feel the school board with their concerns and empowered to come in.” ask important questions.” Despite everything, she’s optimistic Once it raises enough funds, M.A.M.A.’s will become a force for good M.A.M.A.s will open in the space next in the community. to the Civic Media Center, across from “We never had money,” she said. “We the entrance to Porters. But fundraising never had support from the city or has proven difficult; an online petition state. But we always move To was launched in late December 2016. forward; that’s part of our donate to As of press time the club has only raised history. It’s an obstacle, M.A.M.As, visit $3,285 of their $50,000 goal. but that’s not gonna Hazel Levy, a community activist stop us.”•
YouCaring.com. For more information, go to mamasclubgainesville.com.
Spring 2017 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 17
Grime BY VINCENT MCDONALD ILLUSTRATION BY BRITTANY EVANS
arlier this year, Rachel Tanchak, a freshman at the University of Florida, was having Saturday morning breakfast in the Gator Corner Dining Center. As she moved to pour herself some Cinnamon Toast Crunch, a cockroach scuttled from beneath the cereal container. Eight years prior, Joseph Vitagliano, a detainee at a correctional facility in Philadelphia, sat eating lunch in his cell. He bit into a scoop of mashed potatoes and felt something sharp cut his mouth. He then spat out a razor-like piece of metal. Tanchak will likely never know of or meet Vitagliano. But they do have one thing in common: a nasty experience with food service. And they’ve both been wronged by the same provider. UF students know it as Gator Dining, but behind the plastic trays, Classic Fare catering and Starbucks Frappucinos is the Aramark Corporation, the supplier of virtually all food available on campus. In addition to feeding students at some 1,500 universities and K-12 schools around the world, Aramark oversees the kitchens in hundreds of North American prisons. Aramark—along with companies like McDonald’s that use prison labor directly—is part of what is called the prison-industrial complex, a term used to describe how increased prison populations, the result of “tough-on-crime” bills passed in the ‘80s and ‘90s, are exploited by private interests for profit.
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Aramark’s food service represents just one of the many aspects of prison life that are privatized in the United States, from the phones inmates use to call their families to the websites their loved ones use to send them money. State prison systems across the country, including those in Florida, have consistently turned to Aramark for cheaper meals, only to end their contracts after experiencing overbilling, health violations, continuous acts of employee misconduct and a general drop in food quality along the way. But the company’s relationship with the University of Florida, which began in 1995, has remained constant. Aramark began supplying the meals in Florida’s state prisons in 2001.The decision was costly for the Department of Corrections, which lost an estimated $5.6 million in the 2005 fiscal year alone. Aramark switched to cheaper meats against department guidelines, and a 2007 analysis found they significantly reduced the number of inmates being fed. By cutting costs on the supply side, but not reducing the amount it billed Florida for service, Aramark’s profits increased. Auditors suggested the Department of Corrections either change or cancel its contract with Aramark due to its poor service. Several months later, UF made a public bid for food service providers. Aramark was the only bidder.
SPOTLIGHT During the course of their partnership, the state of Florida levied multiple fines against Aramark, culminating in 2008 when Aramark received a fine of $241,499 for multiple contract violations. The fine was larger than any of the previous ones they received in the past seven years’ combined, but the problems continued. That same year, 277 inmates at Santa Rosa Correctional Institution reported becoming sick after eating Aramark chili. Four months later, Aramark officially broke ties with Florida’s correctional facilities. Then-president of Aramark’s correctional services branch, Tim Campbell, cited “unprecedented food cost inflation” as the reason for the contract’s termination in a letter to the state. Seemingly in direct opposition to the conclusion reached in Florida’s 2007 audit, he wrote “because we value our business relationship of the past, we have foregone price increases while continuing to provide valuable services for some time.” Despite being aware of these issues, UF renewed its contract in 2009, in part because it had not experienced those challenges. “[Aramark is] constantly looking at how they can bring value and service to the university,” Lionel Dubay, director of UF’s Business Services Division, said. “They have been an excellent, excellent partner.” More recently, Aramark’s valuable services have included maggot infestations. In 2014, larvae were found in Jackson, Mich., inches from food trays at one facility and in potatoes at another. The maggots weren’t limited to Michigan, either. That same year, outbreaks flared up in Ohio, affecting at least four prisons in the span of two months. In its first year of service, Aramark was fined twice by the state of Ohio for the maggots, as well as shortages in food and staff. Ohio also banned 96 Aramark employees from working in its prisons after incidents involving smuggled contraband and employees not showing up to work. By 2015, two years into its three-year contract, the state of Michigan ended its deal with Aramark after experiencing similar problems as Ohio. On top of smuggling and maggots, an Aramark employee had a member of kitchen staff serve inmates cake that had been gnawed on by rodents. Another Aramark employee allegedly approached an inmate about becoming a murderer for hire. While UF students might occasionally sidestep a cockroach or two, in 2004, the University of Chicago temporarily closed a dining hall run by Aramark after health inspectors discovered mice carcasses in its kitchen. Between 2010 and 2013, the university failed eight health inspections for problems ranging from flies to improper food storage. In April 2016, University of Chicago announced that it would replace Aramark with service by Bon
Appétit. Notably, Bon Appétit operates under Compass Group, a major food service provider that also contracts with prisons. Student group Fight for Just Food rallied the week following the announcement, calling for the university to stop contracting with companies linked to prison profits and opt for self-operated food services instead. Meanwhile at UF, few students know about Aramark’s history and little direct activism against the company. There was a boycott organized in response to the cockroach sightings at Gator Corner, but it was only
comes down to what
values more: refusing to stand
with a company that profits off of mass incarceration or
falling back on a decadeslong partnership because it’s convenient.
for a day and did not raise much awareness. So far, UF hasn’t made any major decisions about the future of Aramark’s contract, Dubay said. He explained that hypothetically switching providers or moving toward self-operated campus dining would be “quite an undertaking and a major transition.” The University of California, Berkeley, in addition to several other public universities in the U.S., have successfully maintained self-operated dining halls. Dropping Aramark has many benefits: It could allow UF students to sell food on campus and campus organizations wouldn’t be required to go through Classic Fare to cater their events. Dubay said switching companies wouldn’t even affect UF’s current food service employees, who would likely remain working on campus, just under different management. But UF would lose Aramark’s unique benefits, Dubay said, like its buying power as a national company and its culinary training programs. It would cost UF time and money to selfoperate its campus dining, but the university is already spending millions on sustainable building renovations, new stadiums and new restaurants. It comes down to what UF values more: refusing to stand with a company that profits from mass incarceration or falling back on a decades-long partnership because it’s convenient. As the end to Aramark’s contract approaches in June 2019, UF has two years to consider its complicity with the prison-industrial complex. • Spring 2017 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 19
Amendment 2 passed last November, but soon-to-be-implemented regulations might make medical marijuana less accessible to people without specific medical conditions. BY KEVIN ARTIGA & ALI SUNDOOK
usan Miranda*, a second year student at Santa Fe College, was driving home one night when she was stopped for a broken headlight. Soon after Miranda handed the officer her license and registration, she was told that she needed to step out of her car — the officer smelled pot and needed to search it. “I had to think fast at that moment and just give [the officer] her everything,” Miranda said. She was charged for carrying paraphernalia and just over an eighth of an ounce of pot. As the officer patted her down, Miranda started to cry. “I felt like I was treated as a violent criminal,” she said. “When I cried the officer said to me, ‘You’re lucky. You could’ve gone to jail tonight.’” Because Miranda cooperated with law enforcement, she avoided jail time and was instead issued a court date, fined $100 and ultimately sentenced to community service. A month after Miranda was charged for possession, over 71 percent of Florida voters approved Amendment 2, legalizing medical marijuana and prompting dispensaries to open across the state. In early 2017, the Florida Department of Health released proposed regulations that would implement the amendment. The proposed rules would allow only certain companies that pass a strict application process to grow and dispense medical marijuana in the state. They would also limit physician’s freedom to prescribe medical marijuana, restricting them to the “debilitating conditions” listed in Amendment 2. However, until the Florida Department of Health releases its official regulations this summer,
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dispensaries, businesses and those in need of medical marijuana will be left in the dark. A similar measure to Amendment 2 was placed on the ballot two years ago, but it failed after millions of dollars were pumped into multiple anti-marijuana campaigns, which were supported by a hash of everyone from Debbie Wasserman Schultz to the Florida Sheriff’s Association. The president of the Florida Sheriff’s Association, Sheriff Grady Judd from Polk County, argued that the 2014 amendment would lead to weed shops opening up next to elementary schools. Anti-marijuana advocates attempted a similar strategy in 2016, but the broad language of the proposed 2014 amendment had changed to include specific criteria for the permissible use of cannabis and what conditions warrant reasonable use. It also includes clauses that require minors to have parental consent. The conditions listed in the new measure are cancer, epilepsy, HIV, PTSD and ALS, among others. In the first grade, Miranda began to show signs of an anxiety disorder. She would pull her hair, to point that she would have bald spots on her eyelashes. She tried to hide her hair pulling, but the symptoms still continued. In 11th grade, Miranda started using marijuana to alleviate her symptoms and hasn’t found anything that’s worked better since. It is unclear, however, whether anxiety or any other mental health conditions will be considered permissible under the amendment’s “debilitating medical conditions” clause, which allows room for additional conditions to be added as long as they are “of the same kind or class as or
ILLUSTRATION BY SARA NETTLE
comparable” as those already listed. John L. Mills, a law professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, co-authored Amendment 2. He said the provisions that made it difficult for the amendment to gain political support in 2014 —-- like those detailing which conditions qualify for medical marijuana —-- were the ones that changed in 2016. The change, however, made the provision narrower, limiting the use of medical cannabis in the state. “Well, right now we’re waiting for the legislature to act,” Mills said, urging the regulations to be released quickly. The current regulations come from a 2014 law that was designed to protect individuals who possessed the low THC/ high CBD strain term “Charlotte’s Web”that aids patients who experience epileptic seizures caused by Dravet syndrome, a neurologic condition. The same law carved out Florida into five selling regions and established guidelines that allowed only one applying dispensary per region to have the ability to process and serve patients seeking medical marijuana. Adam Sharon, director of public relations and communication for Knox Medical, said the application was over 70 pages long and required applicants to meet prerequisites like being a nursery that tends to plants and has been established for over thirty years. “The application process to become a license holder in Florida was very long, complicated and expensive,” he said. In 2014, Knox Medical—which recently opened off 34th Street—began serving patients who had epilepsy
and other similar conditions. The finished prescription is a highly processed, scientifically rendered-down version of cannabis. The new facility in Gainesville will likely continue to sell marijuana in this manner, with an exception for cancer patients. “We have to follow the laws,” Sharon said. Currently, for Miranda to qualify for medical marijuana she must pay a $75 processing fee and register with the state Compassionate Use Registry by an approved physician. The Compassionate Use Registry is an online database of registered medical marijuana users that is accessible by physicians, dispensary staff and law enforcement. If certain proposed measures in the legislature pass, Miranda would have to petition the Florida Board of Medicine to obtain a marijuana card. If approved, she’ll receive a Compassionate Use Registry identification card which will last approximately one year after her physician’s initial order. She’ll need to renew her application 45 days before its expiration date. As medical marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, it’s not known if businesses can terminate employees for testing positive for marijuana. Miranda, who still must pay a fee for her possession charge last fall, hopes that the new law will allow her to find the help she needs. “What I really wish is that since it’s already legal, I would be wiped of all of this completely.”• *Miranda’s name has been changed. Spring 2017 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 21
TRIAL BY ANNE MARIE TAMBURRO
omprised of countless steps, pathways and directions, the immigration process in the United States is a labyrinth for those trying to navigate it. Tedious paperwork, coupled with negative attitudes from political groups, can make the various routes to documentation confusing. The three main methods of immigrating are family-based petitioning, employmentbased petitioning and humanitarian options, George said. He explained that several different means of obtaining documentation exist, including visas, green cards and naturalization, each with different requirements, restrictions and expiration dates. “It’s an alphabet soup of visas,” George said. “Students, F visas, tourist B visas, J visas for different types of trainees or other students, P visas and O visas for athletes of extraordinary ability, and then there’s a whole world of humanitarian-based visas.”
In light of recent events, immigration has become a recent topic. But it's not so simple. We break down the confusing process for you.
NATURALIZATION: Makes you a citizen
Are you at least 18?
Have you been a permanent resident for at least 5 years?
Been married to someone who’s been a citizen 3 years N and haven’t left the country for Y 18+ months in past 3 years?
Haven’t been out of the US for 30+ months in the past 5 years?
You don’t qualify for this. L
Can read, write, speak English and know history/fundamentals of Y U.S. government?
Lived in same state for three years?
Are a person of good moral character?
N Have disability preventing you from doing this?
Aren’t avoiding the draft, a deserter, or discharged because you’re an alien and willing to perform military services ?
Lisa*, a Gainesville resident, immigrated to United States from Venezuela when she was 17 years old through a student visa to learn English. “I call it the ‘one way ticket,’ leaving family and friends behind. I was off for a new adventure, a better future!” she wrote in an email. After her undergraduate degree, she went through optional practical training, allowing her to stay another year, and was ultimately sponsored by a company that provided her with an H-1B visa, which is explained below. She wrote that current political attitudes toward immigrants remind her of her time under populist Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. George said that in addition to walls and travel bans, deportation by immigration officers without a trial or legal approval should be receiving more attention and concern. He said many of the negative beliefs toward immigrants are based on misinformation. Despite negative attitudes
from the White House, the coordinator of Gainesville’s Interfaith Alliance for Immigrant Justice, Richard MacMaster, said that on a local level, Alachua County has been open and supportive to immigrants. He said that broadening one’s horizons helps to better understand and be accepting of them. “I think, overall, one of the key ideas is, ‘do you actually know someone who fits this particular category?’” Macmaster said. “It’s very easy to say a member of this religious group or this ethnic group is, by definition, someone I don’t want in my city in my country, but if you actually know a member of that group, you have a different attitude.” Lisa, George and Macmaster all agree that education and speaking out are instrumental in changing these attitudes. “I hope people really think about what being an immigrant really means, and what it takes to be able to legally stay here in the US,” Lisa wrote. Below is a flowchart detailing the naturalization process; the following page includes flow charts detailing different methods of petitioning for green cards and visas. •
Y Are willing to support the constitution and take an oath of allegiance to the US?
You qualify for citizenship! J File Form N-400, pay $725, go to biometrics appointment, have an interview and take your oath. Fees are different if you’re 75+ or have served in the military
• Form N-400: Application for Naturalization • Form I-864 Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A • Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative of the INA • Form I-140: Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker • Form I-1693: Report of Medical Examination and • Form I-485: Application to Register Permanent Vaccination Record Residence • Form G-28: Notice of Entry of Appearance as or Adjust Status Attorney • Form I-94: Arrival and Departure Record Card or Accredited Representative • Form G-325A: Biographic Information • Form I-602: Application By Refugee For Waiver of • Form I-526: Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur Grounds of Excludability
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Family member files Form I-130, you file Form I-485
Limited number of these accepted
Immediate relative of permanent resident
Degree requirement or job itself is incredibly unique and specific
You’re a distinguished fashion model
Job must meet one of the following criteria
Must hold proper state certification, registration or lisence
Have education, training, or experience in the specialty equivalent to a degree
Must hold bachelor’s degree or higher or a foreign equivalent
Project is provided for under a government-togovernment agreement administered by the U.S. DOD
Evidence of refugee status
F-1 student visa: Academic programs
Bachelor’s degree or higher required
Job must meet both qualifications
H1-B2 DOD Researcher and Development Project Worker
You’ve been granted a National Interest Waiver
You’re extrodinarily good at something (science, athletics, arts, education, etc.)
Gather supporting evidence
Copies of I-94 card and court records
Gather supporting evidence
Must have been present in US for 1 year, spouse/ children can apply too
File Form I-485
Must have been present in US for 1 year and not had admission terminated
Must be proficient in English or be enrolled in courses leading to English proficiency
You must meet one of the following qualifications
H1-B3 Fashion Model
H1-B1 Specialty Workers
Tons of categories to fit varied types of employment and jobs. We’ll explain one of the most noteworthy, the H1-B. visa
Department of State and USICS file Form I-14t0, you File Form I-485
Form G-325A, Form I-693 and Form I-864 from sponsor
File Form I-526
Must create 10+ permanent full-time jobs
Must invest $1 million or $500,000+ in a high-unemployment/ rural area
Children who are abused/neglected/ abandoned/can’t be reunited with parent
Special Immigrant Juveniles
K nonimmigrant status green card for fiancés/ children of US citizens
Up to 50,000 available for people from countries with low rates of immigration to US
“Green Card Lottery”
Need to be enrolled full time in an academic educational program, a language-training program or a vocational program
Bachelor’s degree or higher required
10,000 of these available
You made a significant investment
Form I-94 and arrival/ departure record together
Gather supporting evidence
You have a job offer
Employer files Form I-140. You File Form I-485.
photos Two color
letter Job offer
Sibling, unmarried children over 21, married children
Family Preference Category
TEMPORARY WORKER VISA: Lets you work and live here temporarily
Receive special priority
Unlimited number of these accepted
Spouse, unmarried child under 21 or parent
Immediate Relative of US citizen
GREEN CARD: Makes you a legal perrmanent resident
STUDENT VISA: Lets you study here School must be approved by the Student and Exchange Visitors Program, Immigration & Customs Enforcement
Must have sufficient funds available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study
Must maintain a residence abroad which you have no intention of giving up
M-1 student visa: Vocational or nonacademic training and programs
Spring 2017 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 23
OUTRAGES Why is your utility bill one of the highest in the state? BY ALLIE MCDANIEL
mong hundreds of records in a low-lit room, Andrew Schaer, a local business owner and Gainesville resident for 36 years, hunches over his coffee table. He organizes the nearly 120 utility bills he’s amassed from the past six years in his large northwest Gainesville home and his downtown business, Hear Again Records. Schaer is conscious of his power use. His family keeps the A/C at 80 degrees, runs the dishwasher once a day, does laundry every couple of days and uses their record player for only a few hours in the evening. Schaer has not changed his habits, but over the past five years he has seen his energy bills rise significantly. For his home, his bill has increased by an average of $61.97; his business, $42.76. “We do nothing differently,” he said with resigned frustration. Several miles to the south is Tower Oaks Glen, a low income neighborhood where Rollon Williams lives in a tiny townhome with his wife and two young children. Williams’sfamily does not run the A/C or the heat, their TV is only on two hours a day and they use their washer and dryer once a week. Their habits are more frugal than Schaer’s and their living space is far smaller, yet Williams’ bill runs an average of $260 a month. For Schaer, it’s a bad month to break $200. 93,000 private residents in and around Gainesville get their energy from Gainesville Regional Utilities, or GRU, the city’s publicly owned utility. Though utilities are a run-of-the-mill local controversy, Gainesville’s bills are the highest in the state. Residents of all income levels have complained that their bills seem inconsistent, unfair and arbitrary. Local politicians have proposed a variety of reasons for why residents’ bills are so high, but no explanation offers a clear picture. Attempts to contact GRU via email to ask about the factors that go into a bill are returned with unexplained redirections to web pages rather than direct answers. 1.3 stars for Though almost all of GRU’s s w ie 161 rev information is publicly available, it
AVERAGE W: GOOGLE REVIE
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can be confusing to sift through it all. Even then, the answers are not straightforward. “When you go down to GRU and try to set something up with them, it’s like you’re talking to the building,” Williams said.
consider living in darkness
and showering outside when it rains rather than dealing with
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
efore GRU, the city was buying power from Gainesville Gas and Electric, a private power company that consistently suffered from outages. In December 1912, GG&E’s poor service led the city commission to dispute its monthly charges. It asked the company to deduct $10 from their utility bill, but GG&E refused. After no compromise from either end, the private company completely shut off the city’s power. Incensed, citizens took action, rallying to vote to create a public municipal utility company that would be controlled the city commission, according to GRU’s website. Now GRU is an entrenched portion of Gainesville’s local government. “Everyone in Gainesville owns GRU,” said city commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos. Today, the city fully owns two power plants, both of which are powered by fossil fuels. In 2009, the city looked to diversify its power through purchased power agreements, legal contracts the city signs to acquire outside sources of power for a specific period of time. The city currently has three such agreements for landfill gas, solar and biomass. Motivated by a need for more power and its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the city signed the third contract for biomass with Gainesville Renewable Energy Center, or GREC. But the contract was poorly negotiated, said James Thompson, the volunteer coordinator for Jenn Powell’s city commission campaign.
FEATURE FEATURE The agreement was initially for 20 years but was extended to 30 years. It also only obligated GRU to purchase half of GREC’s power capacity. Instead, the final agreement was for all of its power. And even though GRU is not currently purchasing any power from the biomass plant, it must still pay GREC $70 million a year to keep the plant operational. In 2015, a consulting company conducted an independent review of GRU and found that the city’s agreement to purchase biomass energy did cause increases in customers’ bills. At that point, the consulting company found, any other utility would have split. Gainesville currently has $2.2 billion in future obligations to private companies, a much higher charge than the city faced in 1912. This is exactly the kind of private interest that citizens looked to stop, which has opened the doors for discussions about the city purchasing the plant. “It’s going to be even worse if we don’t buy the plant,” Thompson said. City commissioner Hayes-Santos advocates revisiting the Purchased Power Agreement so that the city of Gainesville can buy GREC outright, rather than purchase power from the private companies that own it. He said that citizens would probably see rates drop 10 to 15 percent almost immediately for both residential and business customers. “We need to take a deep look at it, we need to have full transparency, we need to make sure it’s in the best interest for Gainesville residents,” Santos said. Another contribution to the increase in customers’ bills is the two-tier electric rate system that was approved in October of 2015 for the 2016 fiscal year, a decision impacted by the costs incurred by GREC. It costs GRU a
ILLUSTRATION BY SHANNON NEHILEY
“We need to take a deep look at it, we need to have full transparency, we need to make sure it’s in the best interest for Gainesville residents.” fixed amount to provide power to the city, and the tiered structure is used to determine how much residents should pay to use that power. Previously the city adhered to a three-tiered rate structure, designed to encourage conservation. Residents who fell into tier one, meaning that they used less power, paid less than GRU’s fixed cost, and residents who fell into tier three paid much more. Those in tier two paid the closest to GRU’s cost of providing. Spring 2017 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 25
FEATURE But under the new two-tiered system, customers at the higher and lower ends are both brought closer to paying GRU’s fixed rate. This means that residents in tier one, who tend to have lower income, pay more, said Lauren Poe, Gainesville’s mayor. Residents in tier three, who tend to have a higher income, now pay less. Both Poe and Hayes-Santos are advocating for a different rate structure. “I brought it up in the last year’s budget but there was only one other person interested,” Poe said. “I told them I’m going to keep bringing it up.” GRU is not just a local political issue. It’s also been brought up at the state level. Senator Keith Perry has proposed a bill in the Florida legislature House of Representatives three separate times that would take control of GRU from the city commission and give it to an advisory board. After a year, citizens would be forced to vote on whether they wanted to give the advisory board complete control over the utility. The bill is supported by both the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Builder’s Association of North Central Florida—where Keith Perry’s roofing company is a board member. “All this bill does is give the voters of Gainesville the ability to decide how they want their utility run,” Perry said. However, if citizens vote to transition GRU governance to the Utility Advisory Board, the board has no responsibility to the people. GRU has issues, but as a public municipal utility, Gainesville citizens have the power to meet with city commissioners to voice their concerns and hold them accountable
bill left unpaid 21 days after its due date results in service disconnection, no matter how small the difference. Delinquent service disconnection fees run steep at $52 for electric, $52 for water and $75 for gas. If your service needs to be connected outside of normal working hours, it’s an additional fee. If a customer accrues a certain amount of delinquency points on their account, they are charged a large security deposit, which is split up and tacked onto their bills.
“There’s no system in Alachua county designed to help the poor people.If you’re poor, it seems like they just walk on you. They don’t even care.”
“We pay the security deposit, you see that we are struggling to pay and then you give us a higher security deposit because we keep getting extensions,” said Megan Purvis, a resident of Tower Oaks Glen. Low income and working class people do not have the same access to city commissioner meetings and do not have the same influential financial power as big landlords or the Chamber of Commerce, so their voices on GRU policies are not heard. Although a home’s age is surely a factor of high GRU bills, several low income citizens claimed that the technician that visits their property do not read their meter. “They say sometimes they can’t read our meter because we have bad dogs but our meter is not inside our fence, it’s on the “Even if you do a payment plan, you side of our building,” Purvis said. “So they’re just not taking the time to walk around the building to check our water would still have to sell your firstborn meter. This month we got charged for last month’s and this month’s water.” to afford it.” Purvis is not the only resident who has experienced this. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “One month my gate was locked and they couldn’t read the for their decisions. meter so I guess they put whatever they wanted down on the RU was created to give residents local control over meter,” said Vanessa Ross, another resident of Tower Oaks Glen. their energy, but the city’s lower income residents GRU was unable to comment on these claims due to their have been consistently excluded from the decision slow response rate. This disjointed communication seems to making process. be the biggest deterrence for fixing the high rates city residents Regardless of the varying factors, low income residents see face and getting to the crux of the issue. higher electric bills on average. According to the 2015 U.S. “I think they should just work with people sometimes,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, low income households spend Ross said. “Sometimes life is hard but they don’t care.” around 10% of their income on electricity, which is four times A week ago, citizens gathered at City Hall to discuss buying more than the average consumer. Gainesville is no different. the biomass plant, perhaps the first step to decrease the city’s “There’s no system in Alachua county designed to help the utility bills. But the meeting, which addressed merely a single poor people,” Williams said. “If you’re poor, it seems like they issue of this costly puzzle, ran three hours long. just walk on you. They don’t even care.” The city wants to purchase the biomass plant to reduce The city does offer a program designed to help low income resident’s utility bills. But GREC rejected the city’s most customers lower their bills by updating their appliances, but it’s recent offer, and the controversy continues. only offered to homeowners. Customers who rent are ineligible. “If this is the pace and our utility bills are just going to go Furthermore, the utility has no policies in place designed up and up and up, then where’s the breaking point,” Schaer to work with low income people on paying their bills. And asked. “Where do we hit the point where people just can’t pay the current late fee policy is punishing: Any portion of a their bills anymore?” •
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A woman learns to shoot at A Girl With A Gun training session in Dunnellon, Fla.
FOR IT T
BY MOLLY MINTA PHOTOS BY ANNE MARIE TAMBURRO
wo weeks into Nov. 2016, 18-year-old Malik AbdulShaheed Bakr, a Gainesville native, was planning for an upcoming hunting trip with his friends. He had the gear; all he needed was a gun. Bakr, accompanied by his friend, 19-year-old Heath Smiley, went to the newly opened Bass Pro Shop—a storehouse that sells a stock of hunting, fishing, camping and outdoor recreation-related gear. The store was swamped that day (it was the first weekend after Donald Trump had been elected president), and Bakr and Smiley waited almost an hour and a half before the store manager asked them if they needed help. Bakr’s friend Smiley is white, at home in a store that has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican politicians and conservative PACs. But Bakr, who is half-Black, halfwhite and Muslim—with a full beard and afro—began to feel increasingly uncomfortable in the shop. “I don’t know what I was thinking going to this Bass Pro Shop opening up, ‘cause me and my homie looked around and there wasn’t a single colored person in sight,” Bakr said. “But I’m like, ‘Hey, maybe there are just a lot of white people on this side of town.’ I don’t jump to conclusions.” Bakr did his research and knew he wanted a hunting rifle appropriate for shooting big game. The manager was accommodating and helped Bakr select the gun he’d seen online. But as Bakr handed over his ID and paid the five dollars
required for the criminal background check, he began to feel the stare of another employee on his back. In front of Bakr, the employee wrote something down on a sticky note and handed it to his coworker, who at that point was helping Bakr. Together, the two went into the back room to run Bakr’s ID. They returned with the store manager. Though Bakr had passed the background check, the store manager told him he did not feel comfortable selling the gun to Bakr. Because he was with Smiley, who appeared to be coaching Bakr on which gun to choose, they feared he would sell it to someone else, the manager said. Bakr remained silent, but Smiley objected loudly. “I said, ‘What, because he’s Muslim, because he’s black?’” Smiley told TV-20 in an interview following the incident. “This is disgusting. He has the right to exercise his second amendment right.” A spokesperson for the company told him that “Bass Pro Shops takes the selling of firearms very seriously, fully complying with all local, state and federal laws and regulations in place,” but did not address the specific events that had taken place. “It was blatant racism,” Bakr said. “I’ll take that to my grave.” Over half of America’s guns are owned by the 3 percent of the country, and they’re more likely to be southern, white and married. Black men make up 6 percent of the U.S. population but close to 50 percent of those killed by firearms. Gun ownership in America today is reflective of who has power in this country, historically and in the presentday. As violence against marginalized communities is Spring 2017 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 27
FEATURE becoming increasingly visible, some members of those communities are finding empowerment in guns and choosing to arm themselves. It’s a reclamation of what was once denied to them: power, safety and freedom.
he practice of denying firearms to black people in the South goes back to before the Civil War. Most slaveholding states had laws preventing slaves and free black people not just from owning guns, but also from owning anything that could be used in self-defense, even dogs. Some states, like Maryland and Mississippi, had laws authorizing white people to kill a black person’s dog if they believed the dog was unlicensed. Blatant, race-specific restrictions like these continued after the Civil War and were incorporated into the Black Codes. Posses of white men would patrol southern states, looking to stop any black people who were carrying firearms. This continued until around 1954, when Brown v. Board of Education resulted in a federal clampdown on the practice. In the mid-1800s, it became illegal to conceal a loaded firearm in public. During the Jacksonian, frontier era of American history, it was considered unmanly to do so. Thus, open carry was the norm across the country. After Brown, everyone, including people of color, were able to open carry. As long as the firearm was visible and not pointed at anyone in a threatening manner, it was legal. That is until 1967, when then-governor of California, Ronald Reagan, passed the country’s first contemporary gun control legislation in response to 30 members of the Black Panthers who walked into the California state capitol carrying loaded firearms. The Black Panthers formed in reaction to the brutal police violence during the Civil Rights Movement, notably during peaceful marches. Martin Luther King, Jr. himself applied for a concealed weapons permit but was denied. The members of the Black Panthers would famously conduct armed cop-watches, confronting officers who stopped them for being black and openly carrying by using the law to defend themselves. The Black Panthers would also incorporate their firearms into peaceful protests, like they did when they walked into the capitol in 1967. After this protest, Reagan signed the Mulford Act into law, which repealed California’s law permitting the open carry of firearms and contained a provision that only law enforcement officers were allowed to carry guns into state buildings. In a press conference following the law’s passage Reagan, the first presidential candidate to be endorsed by the NRA, said he saw “no reason why citizens should be carrying loaded weapons.” He called it a “ridiculous way to solve problems among people of goodwill.” The next year, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. Public violence was escalating in the United States. In response, the federal government passed the Omnibus
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Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968. It was the first major federal gun legislation since the New Deal, when the government passed a tax on automatic weapons. The law created a federal licensing system for gun dealers, as well as a list of “prohibited persons,” which included anyone with a felony, mentally ill people, minors and illegal drug users. Gun sellers are allowed to exercise extreme discretion during gun sales, a form of gun control favored by conservative politicians. Through discretion, gun sellers can identify an individual as someone who “shouldn’t” own guns by looking at their skin color. This discretion isn’t only directed at black people, but at any person who isn’t white. In central Florida, a gun seller made headlines for a sign on he put on his door in response to the Pulse shooting that read “Muslim Free Zone.” Bakr was initially angry at the white Bass Pro Shop employees who denied him the gun. He called his dad, who explained to Bakr that he needed to direct his anger at the system of white supremacy, not at the store
“We can’t allow communities to be disarmed when we see what happens to marginalized people as far as violence every day.” employees themselves. Bakr and his father had discussed racism before—vigilance is part of their family history. Bakr’s family name used to be Curry, until his grandfather, who was from Mississippi, changed it in the 1950s when he converted to the Nation of Islam, one of the oldest Black nationalist organizations in the U.S. “He knew his family were slaves,” Bakr said. “He knew his last name was a slave name. So he changed his name—as Malcolm X changed his name—to start anew.” For Black Americans, Islam provided a way to reclaim power. Bakr grew up conscious and proud of his race. He remembers his dad showing him Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” on VHS when he was about nine years old. The movie resonated with Bakr—Malcolm X was a Muslim man in the South, just like him. While Bakr was talking to his father after the incident, his mother took to Facebook. “Dear Privileged Friends,” her post began. “My son tried to buy a gun today, and the new Bass Pro Shop in Gainesville, Fl, would not sell him one.” She went on to detail Bakr’s experience at the gun store. Her post was shared by 212 people, prompting TV-20 to pick up the story. Bakr was naturally curious about people’s reactions to TV-20’s coverage. As he searched for his name in Google, he stumbled across a conservative discussion forum called The Briefing Room. A blood red banner looms over the page, featuring a photoshopped picture of Reagan holding an iPad in the Oval Office, illuminated
An instructor coaches a woman through the activeshooter simulation.
in a ghostly glow. His friends warned him not to read it, but he did anyway. The commenters were discussing an article about the incident published by DownTrend, a right-wing website that once claimed child prostitution was legalized by “liberal numbnuts” in California. It was titled “Muslim Cries Racism After Being Denied A Gun.” Underneath the fearmongering headline was a picture of Bakr, green bushes behind him, the sun casting warm light on his face. “I felt as if I had a target on my back, no matter where I went,” Bakr said. “All that you need to see is my face and know that I was in this ordeal, and I’m a Muslim male.” After the TV-20 story, the store manager contacted Bakr and told him he’d sell him the gun personally. But Bakr had already moved on. He began asking himself how he could learn to be self-sufficient so he would be able to not deal with the system if he didn’t want to. Three weeks ago, Bakr moved to Ninole, Hawaii, where he’s learning to grow his own vegetables and works for a construction company. “I started educating myself and looking at what is successful and spreading it to other people so that ultimately I can get back at bigotry and racism,” he said. In response to those who are looking to limit marginalized communities’ access to guns, activists created Operation Blazing Sword, an online database of gun sellers and ranges that don’t discriminate based on skin color or perceived sexual orientation. The database was compiled with help from members of the Pink Pistols, a national organization that advocates for the use of lawfully-owned, lawfully-concealed firearms for the defense of the LGBT community. The Pink Pistols recently opened a chapter in Gainesville.
“We can’t allow communities to be disarmed when we see what happens to marginalized people as far as violence every day,” said Logan Glitterbomb, who started the local chapter.
“I started educating myself and looking at what is successful and spreading it to other people so that ultimately I can get back at bigotry and racism.” Michelle Prickett and Crystal Seley, who run the Gainesville chapter of A Girl with a Gun, a women’s shooting group dedicated to empowering women and teaching them self-defense, agree. “It’s not about living in fear,” she said. “It’s about living in confidence, to know that you can stop at a gas station at 11 o’clock at night and pump gas and know that you’re going to be okay.” Glitterbomb points out that gun control can have unintended consequences for marginalized communities. “Gun control—all that means is the police and the military and those the government deems worthy are allowed a monopoly on the right to self-defense and also tools of potential aggression,” Glitterbomb said. In conjunction with the Central Florida Pink Pistols, the club has traveled to a Black-owned gun shop in Orlando, Global Dynasty Corps, for concealed weapons permit classes. The club is also currently hosting movie nights at the Civic Media Center and have planned a open forum on gun rights in May. “It’s a mass effort to educate,” Glitterbomb said. “Knowledge is the best self-defense.” • Spring 2017 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 29
94 years ago and 49 miles from Gainesville, there was a town called Rosewood.
BY SIRENE DAGHER ILLUSTRATION BY EVA SAILLY
t was 1943. Every weekend, Lizzie Robinson Jenkins watched her aunt Mahulda sew by the window of their farmhouse in Archer, Fla., in the same spot she took her reading lessons and learned to spell. Jenkins was only five. She didn’t understand why her aunt suddenly raced to the bedroom to hide every time a car rattled down the road. Not until late one school night did Jenkins find out, when her mom called for her and her three siblings to come into the living room. “Sit on the settee,” she told them. “Mama’s gonna tell you a story about Rosewood.” “What came into my mind was roses and the woods,”
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Jenkins recalled. “I had never heard of Rosewood, didn’t know what it meant, didn’t know the significance.” Rosewood was a viable black community just a halfhour from their home in Archer, where Mahulda had been a school teacher. That was before the night of Jan. 6, 1923, when she— and every other person in Rosewood—was forced to escape. Spurred by a claim that a black man living in Rosewood had assaulted a white woman, a mob of over 100 men roamed and looted the town, killing four people and burning almost every home. It would be 70 years before the state of Florida acknowledged what happened. Survivors rarely spoke of
FEATURE Rosewood until a campaign to pass the first U.S. claims bill for racial violence “It became our story; just Mom’s story and my story,” Jenkins said. “And I treasured it. And we didn’t talk to anyone outside.”
osewood is 49 miles southwest of Gainesville, just before the fishing town of Cedar Key. A railroad split the town from the northeast, bringing industry to the smaller, predominantly black community. Rosewood had three churches, a sugar mill, two general stores and a schoolhouse, where Mahulda taught. Women sold vegetables in local markets and men played baseball on Sunday. At that time, it was as prosperous as a black community could hope to be in the Deep South. The houses, mostly shanties or one-room schoolhouses, were spread out. Some of the older families, like Sarah Carrier’s, a prominent resident of Rosewood, had two-story homes that boasted baby grand pianos, white fences and fruit trees in their yards. Rosewood neighbored Sumner, a majority white town 3 miles west. But unlike in Rosewood, most of the residents in Sumner did not own their own land and worked for pittance at the local sawmill. Archaeologist Edward Gonzalez-Tennant said this disparity created animosity between some white residents in Sumner toward the black residents in Rosewood. “While you have you have radios, TV’s, and newspapers, reminding whites of their supposed superiority, you have a black community that’s not conforming to its supposed marginalized status,” he said. This animosity reached a fever pitch the night of January 1st when James Taylor, a Sumner resident, returned home to find his wife, Fannie, beaten. Hysterical, she told him she had been assaulted by a black man when she was home alone that morning. Taylor went to the sheriff, who had word that an escaped convict was hiding in Rosewood. The sheriff set his sights on Rosewood, and the men of Sumner assembled the bloodhounds. But someone else had been there too, Sarah Carrier, washing Fannie’s clothes, saw the real attack: Fannie was having an affair, and it had turned violent. One of the first homes the vigilantes sought out was Sarah Carrier’s home, even though she lived the farthest from Sumner. As the mob attempted to break into her home, Sarah Carrier was killed, in addition to two white men. News of the white men’s deaths—and Fannie’s Taylor’s assault —spread. Armed white men poured in from around the state. Some came from Gainesville, where a large Ku Klux Klan rally had been held the day before; others came from as far away as Georgia. The Sumner sheriff, failing to call the National Guard,
“It became our story; just Mom’s story and my story. And I treasured it. And we didn’t talk to anyone outside.” reassured the governor by telegram that he expected “no further disorder.” Meanwhile white men, drunk from moonshine and loaded with ammunition, continued to murder indiscriminately for three more days. They never found Fannie Taylor’s alleged attacker. The people of Rosewood left. Some changed their names, and moved in with relatives across the state, but none ever returned. Many historians claim that Rosewood was a deliberate land grab. Soon After WWI, lynch mobs in the south began targeting entire communities—rather than specific individuals—often as a result of white fear of interracial sex. It was an excuse to instill fear in black communities and take back what land they did managed to come by after the Civil War. “I don’t think you destroy an entire community just to protect one person,” Gonzalez-Tennant said. “I think they were very thorough in their destruction of that community.” After the town was burned down and abandoned, it was bought up for delinquent property taxes. In the 1950s and ‘70s, white people began to move in. Not an acre of the land is owned today by anyone that used to live in Rosewood. Rosewood descendants maintain that a mass grave lies buried beneath the town, and that many more than eight six, upwards of 40 people were killed at Rosewood. It is impossible to know. There are no records of Rosewood, not even of the three-day grand jury investigation held in Brunson the next month, where 25 witnesses—8 of them black— said that there was insufficient evidence of any wrongdoing. “That was the end of it,” said, Maxine Jones, a history professor at Florida State University who led the state-funded investigation into Rosewood. “And the state of Florida just kind of dropped the ball. They didn’t try to help these people reclaim their land or anything.”
n 1992, Steve Hanlon, a pro-bono attorney at a law firm in Tallahassee, got a call from a film producer who pitched an idea for a movie about the last two survivors of the Rosewood massacre. Hanlon had never heard of Rosewood. Neither had most people until 1982, when the massacre was introSpring 2017 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 31
Timeline of Events
Dec. 31, 1922 Large Ku Klux Klan rally in Gainesville.
Jan. 1, 1923 Fannie alleges attack by an un-identified black man.
Jan. 4, 1923 Carrier’s house is attacked. She and two white men are killed.
duced to the public by a journalist, Gary Moore. Moore had accidentally uncovered the story while reporting on tourism in Cedar Key. 60 Minutes did a follow up, bringing it national attention. One of the survivors featured in the story was Minnie Lee Langley, a retired brush factory worker living in Jacksonville and Sarah Carrier’s niece. After witnessing her aunt’s shooting, Langley fled Rosewood with her family at just eight-years-old. Hanlon’s interest was piqued. He decided to investigate further, and booked a flight to Langley’s home. Hanlon would eventually learn that Langley was one of ten still-living survivors. He got them together to file a claims bill, the first of its kind in U.S. history. “Of course [Rosewood] was a 70 year old case, but that didn’t bother me,” said Hanlon. “Once I met Minnie Lee Langley I was convinced that I was going to take the case.” But the case was a hard sell. No one wanted to pay for what seemed like reparations, even though it was only a drop in the 38 billion dollar proposed budget for the state legislature that March. “It was extremely controversial,” Hanlon said. “Because, of course the legislature thought, ‘My God! We’re opening up a Pandora’s Box!’”
osewood was not an isolated incident. If the state gave money to the Rosewood survivors, legislators feared that hundreds of other cases would need to be redressed. Florida had the second highest per-capita lynching rate in the South: 19 lynchings were reported in Alachua County alone. More than 4,000 people died in the South. Hanlon attempted to frame the bill not as one for reparations—which would imply that the state had committed a moral injury—but as one for compensation, based on the estimated property damage caused at Rosewood. No other claims bill drew as much attention from the public, in “It was extremely part because on New Year’s controversial, Day in 1993, because of course exactly 70 years the legislature since Rosewood, a black tourist thought, ‘My God! from New York We’re opening up a was kidnapped
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Jan. 6, 1923 Women and children are evacuated by train.
Jan. 7, 1923 The remainder of the town is burned.
Feb. 12, 1923 Grand jury investigation failed to indict anyone.
by two white men in Tampa, doused with gasoline and lit on fire. Despite the incident, the legislature dismissed the first bill Hanlon filed on behalf of the survivors in April 1993. Hanlon wanted to file a second bill, but he needed more white politicians on his side. The testimony of the ten survivors raised questions: All of them were children during the time of the massacre. Many politicians speculated that because they were black, the survivors were incentivized to fabricate the story. “[The legislature] needed an objective, unbiased report, so that they could proceed with the bill,” said Jones, the history professor from Florida State University. That is, they needed testimony from white people. With the support of then-Governor Lawton Chiles, four professors and one graduate student from universities across Florida were given three months before the start of ‘94 legislative session to uncover what happened at Rosewood, a project that should have taken two to three years to properly research. The team, however, was determined and set out to Cedar Key. “What we found was that, by-and-large, whites over time had buried the story, and anyone who had been involved with it,” said David Colburn, the director of the Bob Graham Center who contributed to the report. “They buried the story because they didn’t want to acknowledge that they’d been involved in violence of that sort against the black community there.” The team was getting desperate. There were no official records on Rosewood, no police reports— nothing but second-hand newspaper clippings and survivor testimony. The state gave them another month. Finally, they stumbled upon 89-year-old Ernest Parham, a white man living in Orlando, who was willing to talk. Parham, was 17 years old during the massacre, and delivered ice to the residents of Rosewood from his home in Sumner. He had just finished mowing his lawn when Colburn knocked on his door. “Parham had no axe to grind; he was a white man,” Colburn said. “He could have easily added to the efforts of others to bury the story, but he chose not to.” Parham’s account corroborated the that of the survivors. He remembers selling shells and guns that fateful Friday. He watched white men pass through
FEATURE 1982 The first report on Rosewood is published in The Floridian.
December, 1983 60 Minutes presents “The Rosewood Massacre.”
1992 Hanlon meets with Langley. He begins to draft the first bill.
Spring, 1993 The first claims bill is drafted. It fails to pass the legislature.
his home wounded, watched as they strung up a Rosewood man from a tree and shot him through the head. Just before Christmas in 1993, the team released The Rosewood Report. And it passed, narrowly, but the amount awarded to survivors was dropped from $7 million to 2.1: $150,000 for each of the nine survivors. It probably would not have passed, however, solely on the word of the black survivors. Parham’s testimony was the deciding factor, said Sherry DuPree, a historian for the Rosewood Heritage Foundation. “It was not us, not at all,” she said. “But when a white man stands up and tells in the court that he was there and witnessed it and can corroborate the stories—that’s what got it through.” But for the survivors, it wasn’t about the money. Most of them gave it away or simply didn’t care about it. “There was certainly—among the survivors—great pride that they got to tell their story,” Hanlon said. “You’re never going to heal something like that, but to the extent that you can have some emotional release and let the world know what happened—that was very meaningful to my clients.”
izzie Jenkins is nearly 80 now. She’s still studying Rosewood. For the past 25 years, she’s been giving talks, running bus tours and in 1998 she released “The Real Rosewood,” a book based on conversations with her aunt and mother. “Most important is to keep the message out there,” Jenkins said. “To keep the information highway open. That’s who we are. History is who we are.” The claims bill also contained a provision that created a $500,000 scholarship fund for the survivors’ descendants and mandated that Rosewood be taught in Florida public schools. Students rarely learn of Rosewood. “It’s awkward,” Jones said. “When do you introduce it? When do you teach it? How do you talk about lynchings? How do you talk about burning men and women alive?” “I don’t know,” she continued. “I think a lot of white teachers especially feel uncomfortable teaching it. So you don’t teach it, or you glance over it.” But Rosewood was not an isolated incident, nor is it confined solely to the past. “When it comes time to learn about African American history, it’s the classic slavery-and-the-Civil-Rights-Movement with this 80 to 90 year period in between where you don’t talk about stuff,” Gonzalez-Tennant said. “Part
Dec. 22, 1993 The official Rosewood Report is released by the state.
May 4, 1994 The second claims bill is signed into law by Gov. Chiles.
2004 Jenkins’ foundation sponsors a Florida Heritage Marker
of the reason we “The historic marker don’t talk about has bullet holes in it is because stuff like Rosewood it, and I show that is what’s taking to the people when place, and it can be very uncomI take them down fortable for peoon the tour. You just ple to have that realize what the conversation.” Efforts to truth is.” memorialized Rosewood have been met with resistance. After the massacre became public knowledge, the highway sign indicating the town began disappearing. The only makeshift sign that evaded tampering and destruction was a plastic one, tacked onto two wooden posts, that listed the names of the five white men who aided the victims of Rosewood. For now, the only physical memorial of the town is still the Heritage Marker sponsored by Jenkins’s foundation in 2004. It is often uprooted. Some say it is the most vandalized sign in the state. It was taken down around 14 times in one year, said DuPree. The Rosewood Heritage Foundation offers bus tours from Gainesville to Rosewood and rotating historical exhibits. “The historic marker has bullet holes in it, and I show that to the people when I take them down on the tour,” Dupree said. “You just realize what the truth is.” It takes three minutes to drive via Route 24 from Rosewood to Sumner. If you aren’t looking for it, you’ll miss the Heritage Marker. You have to stop and get out of the car to see that someone has placed a small sand stone in the corner of the sign. It reads “HOPE.” •
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ART & LITERATURE
How do I tell you about this house?
BY HEATHER STARRATT
“Your grandmother would kneel in prayer at the low cupboard of the kitchen sink. Anointing from vials of household products: Ajax on the china, tinctures of Clorox on stucco, paintings, knobs, every corner of her home, a ceremony of ammonia and foam. All that smothered tile left our soles sticky, and kept us from slipping out of her care. Your aunts and uncles live here now, changing things, letting it go. A quiet mildew blooms on the popcorn ceiling. It was never talked about, how the home sighed after the wake, how the fleecy dust nestled itself on shelves, dreaming whispers. It is your birthday today and everything will be fine; we are baking a cake with subdued green icing, mocking the mold which films our family pictures.”
Sunday BY CLAUDIA CONGER
Somewhere the rain has stopped. Doors open and shut mechanically while departing lovers kiss with metal-tasting lips, and dark figures lie in bed with fingers in their mouths. In the bathtub she looks like Ophelia— her hair a wet bandage around her neck, trailing water down the bathroom floor.
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ART & LITERATURE
The Space Between, MADISYN ALBERRY
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Weâ€™ve hidden eight items that match the stories inside. Can you find them all? 1. Roses 2. Bong 3. Gun 4. Tampon
5. Orchids 6. Utility bill 7. Cockroach 8. Saxophone