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Friday, September 24, 2021

The Alligator to host “Who Is Gainesville?” forum tonight

public forum
public forum

The past, present and future of the city of Gainesville will be discussed tonight in order to define “who” the city is.

From 7 to 8 p.m. today, The Independent Florida Alligator will host a forum discussing these topics and more for its project “Who is Gainesville?” at the Center for Innovation & Economic Development: Imagination Room, 530 W. University Ave.

A panel discussion will be moderated by Paige Fry, the editor-in-chief of The Alligator.

Seven panelists will respond to Fry’s questions for an hour, with an audience Q&A session after.

The forum is part of The Alligator’s project that covers the past, present and future of Gainesville. This is a year-long project that started in September 2018 and was funded by $3,000 from the Poynter Media Institute, an organization that supports local and student journalism.

“This is our effort to create more of a conversation rather than just telling stories,” said Gillian Sweeney, The Alligator’s audience engagement team member.

Panelists, like Gainesville Police Department Chief Tony Jones, were chosen based on their area of expertise relative to the greater Gainesville community, Sweeney said.

Levi Bradford, a 24-year-old first-year UF law student, plans to attend. He said the forum presents an opportunity for groups to discuss how they define Gainesville.

“There is so much more that goes on in town that needs to be looked at,” Bradford said. “Those ideas don’t come up in conversation unless someone has personally experienced them and has felt the division.”

Who: The Independent Florida Alligator

What: A forum for the “Who is Gainesville?” project led by seven panelists from the community, including:

- City Commissioner David Arreola

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- Gainesville Police Department Chief Tony Jones

- Pamela Davis, executive director of the Gainesville Housing Authority

- Susan Crowley, assistant vice president for community relations at UF

- Valerie Freeman, director of education equity and outreach for Alachua

County Public Schools

- Peggy Macdonald, the former director of the Matheson History Museum

- Rahkiah Brown, coordinator for the ReadingPals program.

Where: The Center for Innovation & Economic Development: Imagination Room, 530 W. University Ave. at Santa Fe College

When: 7 to 8 p.m. today

Why: To open a conversation between leaders and members of the community to discuss the past, present and future of Gainesville as well as the relationship between UF and the greater Gainesville area.

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