Civic Media Center celebrates 25th anniversary with journalist Amy Goodman

Kat Antunes, Contributing Writer

Amy Goodman, a well-known broadcast journalist, made an audience of 250 people crack up when she made a joke about a parallel between the leader of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and President Donald Trump in an orange jumpsuit.

“Can you imagine, the 45th president of the United States, strip searched and in an orange jumpsuit? I mean, it would match,” Goodman said.

Goodman, the host and executive producer of the news program “Democracy Now!” was the guest speaker at the Civic Media Center’s 25th anniversary celebration.

Guests paid $25 to enter the independent nonprofit media organization’s event that was held at the Working Food Community Center, at 219 NW 10th Ave. The money made from the entry would go to back to the media center, said Isabel Miceli, a 22-year-old UF women’s studies senior.

“I’m ecstatic at the response and the increased visibility of and support for the CMC,” Miceli said.

Goodman did not charge a speaker’s fee; she just asked that her flight and housing be covered, said Kaithleen Hernandez, 23, one the coordinators of the center’s anniversary celebration.

About 15 people also paid $100 for a meet and greet opportunity with Goodman before the event, Hernandez said. The money went toward WGOT-LP, which broadcasts on 100.1 FM out of the Civic Media Center.

Hernandez, who has worked with the center for a year, said it takes $5,000 a month to keep it running. Sometimes she doesn’t even get paid on time, she said.

“It’s a labor of love,” she said.

Goodman spoke for over an hour, taking the audience through a tour of major American headlines and how corporate involvement in the media has influenced how stories from the last 50 years were told — such as Emmett Till’s lynching and the recent death of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

She also made a case for independent media outlets and grassroots organizations.

“I just feel it’s absolutely critical to go to where the silence is — to bring out the voices of people who are not usually heard,” Goodman said after the event. “That’s why we have to build independent media. That’s why CMC and WGOT are so important.”

“Amy Goodman is my ‘shero’, so of course I’m here because I want to see Amy Goodman, come hell or high water,” Blue said.

Teresa Zokovitch, one of the co-owners of Vine Sourdough Bakery and a sponsor of the event, said she appreciates the message of the center and has been involved with it since the 1990s.

“Things are kind of dark and bleak, and I just have to stick near things that will help bring hope and inspire,” Zokovitch, 49, said.

The Civic Media Center is successful because of the community and volunteers, said Joe Courter, the co-founder of the center and publisher of the Gainesville Iguana.

“One of the biggest things in my life is working with the Civic Media Center,” Courter, 67, said. “It’s incredibly rewarding to get a night like this.”

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