May/June 1998

Members of Campus NOW and other concerned people hold signs at 13th St. in front of the housing office at Manoucheka "Chica" Thermitus' appeal hearing in April. Thermitus was charged with "not living up to the spirit of the community" by other residents of Buckman Co-op, where she lives. Among the clearly racist charges were that she was intimidating to other residents when she spoke Creole in her living area and she was accused of stealing juice when no-one else was even questioned. Thermitus was not even told what she was being charged with before her hearing.

At her appeal, however, she was prepared. Additionally, supporters outside asked cars to honk and they were audible inside the hearing room. "Every time they heard another car horn, they acceded to another demand," said UF Professor Errol Henderson, who accompanied Chica to the hearing as an advisor. Henderson said, "She was charged with not living up to the spirit of the community, but if that spirit is racist and sexist, then maybe that's a good thing."

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