The Spring 2021 semester brought changes to campus and the Gainesville community. Amid the ongoing pandemic, relaxed mandates and the ongoing adjustment to life with COVID, UF students and community members continued to organize and raise awareness for social issues in Gainesville. (Photos by Chasity Maynard and Julia Cooper)
THE CORNER OF SUPPORT - For panhandlers like Mike and Sheldon, their days of standing on Gainesville’s medians may be coming to an end. City officials concerned about pedestrian safety have proposed rules banning people from standing that close to traffic while soliciting donations. Mike and Sheldon share the intersection at SW 13th Street and SW 16th Avenue to make ends meet. Despite the hard times, they count on each other for friendship and support. Photos by Kasamba Kokayi, 21, a former UF journalism major who graduated in December 2020.
UF's Magic the Gatorling club meets every Wednesday in the Reitz Student Union to play "Magic: The Gathering" while following social distancing regulations.
2,977 flags, a flag for each victim of the 9/11 attacks, were placed at Plaza of the Americas on September 11, 2020. The UF organization, Young Americans For Freedom placed them on Thursday night.
On Friday, August 28, 2020, protesters gathered at Heavener Hall in remembrance of the people who lost their lives due to racial injustices. The protesters marched down W. University Avenue, where members from the men’s and women’s UF basketball teams, football players and Dan Mullen, the head football coach joined in support. Everyone marched to Bo Diddley Plaza where they sat in silence for eight minutes, the same amount of time George Floyd laid with a knee to the back of his neck. The protest stayed peaceful and police officers drove alongside marchers.
More than 200 masked people gathered Friday evening at the intersection of University Avenue and 13th Street and marched downtown to Bo Diddley Community Plaza to protest the shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake, a Black man shot by police while entering his car after he was tased. Follow the tweets posted by The Alligator's staff live from the protest.
Antwuan Hamm organized a balloon release at the Alachua County Schools bus yard on August 7 in honor of his mother, Troyanna Hamm. Troyanna was a driver for Alachua County Public Schools for 27 years and passed away from COVID-19 in 2020. Click here to read more about Troyanna's life and the impact she had on the community.
Gainesville residents held a candlelight vigil for Beirut on Aug. 7 on the steps of City Hall. There, they honored the more than 130 people who died in a massive explosion in Beirut on Aug. 4 and sought to bring attention to the political plight of Lebanese people. "They destroyed our country," one attendee said. "Those politicians have to go. They’ve destroyed our country for a long time.”
Teachers, parents and students attended the Rally for Safe Reopening of Schools on July 21. The rally comes as the rate of positive COVID-19 cases surges in Florida. Attendees expressed concerns over the safety of themselves and their families upon returning to school in August. “We either go digital, or go home,” one attendee said.