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November 2018

A. Whitney Sanford, University of Florida
November 12th, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Many intentional communities such as ecovillages and cohousing communities form around broad principles such as sustainability, but residents find that social sustainability proves a much greater challenge. In researching Living Sustainably, I visited communities that developed a range of strategies for governance and conflict resolution. These strategies helped residents through difficult dialogues about what constitutes sustainability and, more important, how can we productively translate conflict into creative solutions.

A. Whitney Sanford is a professor in the Religion Department at the University of Florida. She is currently conducting ethnographic research on the Florida rivers, exploring human attachment to place and water, for a book tentatively entitled “River People of Florida”. Her books include Living Sustainably: What Intentional Communities Can Teach Us About Democracy, Simplicity, and Nonviolence (University Press of Kentucky, 2017), Growing Stories from India: Religion and the Fate of Agriculture (University Press of Kentucky, 2012) and Singing Krishna: Sound Becomes Sight in Paramanand’s Poetry (SUNY 2008).

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December 2018

December 10th, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

For our December luncheon, winners of this year’s Buddy Davis Speech Contest will read their entries.
The topic for this year’s contest is: Can schools discipline students for social media use outside of school?

Every teenager knows that he can’t call his principal a vulgar name to his face. But it’s really unclear whether he can go home, get on his computer, and then call him vulgar names online. Is this type of online speech protected by the First Amendment? This important issue is gradually making its way through the lower courts, and will probably be considered by the Supreme Court in the near future.

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January 2019

Leanne Lawrence – GED teacher, Alachua County Jail
January 14th, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Leanne Lawrence is an educator and an advocate who believes that dialogue is fundamental in the crusade against apathy, abuse and intolerance. She is an award-winning poet, an animated speaker and a gifted storyteller. Born in Upstate New York, she has lived and taught in Gainesville since 2001. She sits on the Board of Directors of The Alachua County Coalition Against Human Trafficking, and works closely with local law enforcement and child advocacy groups. She is a dedicated animal rescuer and community activist.

This, her first book, was written to celebrate the tenacity of the human spirit. She strives to reveal the truth behind the crime, and empower the human being who has become ‘the criminal.’ As a teacher in the Criminal Justice System for more than two decades, her goal is to provide a mirror for her students to enable them to “see what she sees:” just how beautiful and intelligent and capable they truly are.

According to Leanne, she has the best job in the world.

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February 2019

Superintendent Karen Clarke – Alachua County Public Schools
February 11th, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Karen Clarke is a proud product of Alachua County Public Schools. Following her graduation from Gainesville High School, Mrs. Clarke attended Santa Fe Community College and then the University of Florida, earning a degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership.

Mrs. Clarke has spent more than 26 years as an educator. She has worked as a teacher, dean, assistant principal and principal. Under her leadership, Oak View Middle School established its highly successful Center for Advanced Academics and Technology magnet program.

Since 2010, Mrs. Clarke has served in a number of leadership roles in the district office, taking on more responsibility with each of those roles. She began as the Director of Secondary Curriculum and School Improvement, then became Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Student Services. In 2016 she became Deputy Superintendent and served in that capacity until being named Superintendent in May of 2017.

Mrs. Clarke is active in a number of community and statewide organizations. She served as president-elect of the Florida Association of Instructional Supervisors and Administrators, served on the Board of Directors for the Florida Association of School Administrators and is a member of the Florida Department of Education Articulation
Coordinating Committee, among other organizations. Locally, she serves on the Alachua County Children’s Services Advisory Board, and is a member of the board of directors for Junior Achievement, the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and The Education Foundation for Alachua County Public Schools.

Mrs. Clarke is married and has three sons, two of whom graduated from and one who is currently a student of Alachua County Public Schools.

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March 2019

Paul Ortiz
March 11th, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Humans are wired to be story tellers…that’s kind of the signature element of oral history…in a way it kind of goes back to if you had a grandmother or grandfather, you remember the power of the story that they told.

-Dr. Paul Ortiz, AAHP-055

Dr. Paul Ortiz is the director of the award-winning Samuel Proctor Oral History Program and associate professor of history at the University of Florida.

He is president of the Oral History Association for the 2014-2015 term. He has previously served as vice-president as well as chair of the nominating committee for the OHA. His publications include the Emancipation Betrayed (University of California Press) a history of the Black Freedom struggle in Florida, and Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Jim Crow South (New Press) which went into its 4th printing in 2014.

He is the recipient of several book awards including the Lillian Smith Book Prize conferred by the Southern Regional Council & the Harry T. and Harriett V. Moore Book Prize bestowed by the Florida Historical Society and the Florida Institute of Technology. His forthcoming monograph is titled: Our Separate Struggles are Really One: African American and Latino Histories and will be published by Beacon Press as part of its ReVisioning American History series. He is also co-authoring the forthcoming book Behind the Veil: African Americans in the Age of Segregation, 1895-1965 with William H. Chafe.

Paul has published essays in a wide array of publications including Latino Studies, The Oral History Review, Radical History Review, Truthout, Against the Current, Southern Exposure and McClatchy News Services. He writes frequently for the popular press about African American and Latino histories and politics. He has been interviewed by ABC News, the Washington Post, the Hong Kong Daily Apple, BBC, Russia Today News, Agencia De Noticias Del Estado Mexicano, and Time on historical and contemporary social issues.

Paul serves on the international editorial boards for Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies as well as for Palgrave Studies in Oral History, Palgrave Macmillan Books. He has served as a Post-Doctoral Faculty Mentor for the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation as well as for the Ford Foundation Fellowship Program.

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April 2019

The Joseph L. Brechner Freedom of Information Award is an annual $3,000 cash award, sponsored by The Brechner Center. The award recognizes excellence in reporting about freedom of information, access to government-held information, or the First Amendment.
April 8 @ 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Please register by Thursday, April 4th.

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May 2019

Jodi Siegel, Executive Director, and Kirsten Anderson, Litigation Director

Southern Legal Counsel is a statewide public interest law firm based in Gainesville. We will discuss how we use the power of the law to change systems, safeguard liberties, hold governments accountable and end discrimination.

May 13th @ 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

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September 2019

Frank LoMonte, Director, UF Brechner Center for Freedom of Information

The Joseph L. Brechner Center for Freedom of Information is an incubator for ideas and initiatives that give the public timely and affordable access to the information necessary for informed, participatory citizenship. Dr. LoMonte’s talk will focus on open government and FOIA law.

Sept 9th @ 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

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October 2019

Alex Patton, political consultant and owner of Ozean Media

Oct 14th @ 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

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November 2019

November 11th, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

For our November luncheon, winners of this year’s Buddy Davis Speech Contest will read their entries. The topic for this year’s contest is: Possible Solutions for School Gun Violence

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