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Food Access: Race, Class, and the Environment

How do race, class, and the environment influence food access and food choices? Using COVID 19 as the backdrop, this panel examines the state of food security and challenges in Gainesville: What are the barriers to food access in Gainesville? What are the political outcomes?

November 10th, 2020 at 6:30 pm (Tentative)

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Meet the Moderator

Mamyrah Prosper

Dr. Mamyrah Prosper is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at Davidson College. Her doctoral work centered on a coalition of social movement organizations calling for an end to the ongoing “non-governmental” occupation of Haiti. She is interested in the construction of neocolonial nationalist ideologies and collective identities in relation to race and class, gender and sexuality, education and language and religion. She is currently working on my monograph entitled Development Contested in Occupied Haiti: Social Movements, NGOs, and the Evangelical State and have published in academic and political journals like Women’s Studies Quarterly and Commune Magazine. She has also served as an organizer with land and housing rights organization Take Back the Land-Miami and is presently the International Coordinator for Community Movement Builders. 

Meet the Panelists


Dr. Diedre Houchen became the CSRRR Postdoctoral Associate in 2016. She has taught race and education, history of education, and teacher education courses in University of Florida’s College of Education. Her research and writing focuses on race, education and history. Her work as a youth advocate, program developer, middle and high school teacher and teacher educator deepened her understanding of the challenges facing public education.She is published in the areas of urban education, teaching, and learning. Her current work considers Black teacher activism and pedagogy during Jim Crow.

Gail Johnson

Gail Johnson spent her formative years in Gainesville and graduated from Eastside High School and the University of Florida. After founding and publishing an arts and culture magazine about Brooklyn, Gail moved back to Gainesville to raise Zora Sunshine. Gail’s grandparents moved to Gainesville over 40 years ago. Her grandfather was the President of the NAACP, and instilled a lifelong passion for education and social justice in Gail, as well as a desire to build a better community.

Gail is a small business owner with a passion for food and the local food movement, which she expresses through her catering company, delicious.delivered. As a working mother and entrepreneur, Gail understands the many challenges that working families face. As a commissioner, Gail will do more to address economic inequalities and work to create a Gainesville where everyone can enjoy the wonderful life and amenities we have here.

Carla Lewis-Miles

Carla Lewis-Miles is a community activist who is dedicated to finding solutions to address the plight of underserved communities at risk for gentrification. She left the field of nursing, realizing that our communities are under attack by predatory developers, unfair development practices and a lack of protective city policies. She works closely with local, state and national leaders to develop policies to protect citizens and promote healthy and equitable community development.


Karissa Raskin

Karissa Raskin is the Civic Collaboration Specialist in the City of Gainesville’s Department of Strategic Initiatives. She works to foster collaboration between diverse local stakeholders in order to build mutually beneficial partnerships that can improve the wellbeing of our community. By crossing institutional boundaries and breaking down the silos that separate our community, Karissa strives to welcome all community members into the process of designing, developing, and implementing solutions that can solve some of the complex issues facing our communities.


Funding for this program was provided through a grant from Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.