Pink House. 130 North Street. Back In The Day.

Fellow residents from the 1991-94 years were Clint Curtis, Shyam Patel, Raj Krishnasami, Lydia Craft, Jess Deltac, Kyle York Spencer, Caroline Rivers Hall, Mel Lanham, Michelle Sinnott, Jay Murray, N'Gai Wright, Scott Bullock (who crashed on the couch for a year before finally moving in), Bryan Ellerson, Karen Hurka, Sally Stryker, Ryan Mathias, Charlie Speight, Chris Palmatier, Trent McDevitt, and Steve William.

Besides holdovers and returnees Jay, Scott, Mel (& Laverne!), Chris, and N'Gai, residents during 1995-97 included Allen Sellars (who, like Jay, lived at both the Pink House and 401 Pritchard), Ian Williams, Zak Bisacky, James Dasher, Linden Elstran, Jiffer Bourguignon, Grant Tennille (who first made the scene as a fixture in N'Gai's room circa summer '93), Zia Zareem, Ben Folds, Tom Holden, and Chris "Chip" Chapman.

- Erik Ose

Sunday, April 25, 1993

R.I.P. Ericka Kurz (1968-1993)

I think I'm past my initial shock at the news of Ericka's death and my profound grief that followed. I was definitely grieving for a while there this week, walking around campus all out of focus and lost in worlds of thought about her, and all the times I could remember spending with her. I kept turning the details of how she died over in my head, and lost a lot of sleep the first couple of nights after you called me, just feeling miserable and agitated, all fucked up in general.

Ericka and Raj at Pink House, Spring '92.

Now I'm at a stage where everything's receding a little bit, which is both good and bad. Until my exams finish, I absolutely have to focus on studying. But at the same time, I feel like my mind unleashed this torrent of memories about Ericka this week that now, already somehow, I don't remember as well any more. It's funny how memory works like that. I want to think about Ericka, and write everything down about her that I can recall, but again, I feel like I can't sit down, start, and not finish. It's got to be the whole nine or else I'm going to further mess with my memory circuits and not be able to conjure up intense mental images of her again for a long time.

- Letter to Dana, 5/2/93

(Note from 10/28/10 - Impossibly hard to believe it's been 17 1/2 years since Ericka was murdered. That seems like such an eternity, and yet I still think about her and miss her like crazy. From the time I met Ericka at the first SEAC organizing meeting of the fall '89 semester in Hamilton Hall, I had a mad crush on her. (In Caroline Philson's words, me and probably every other guy - and girl - in SEAC). Only I was a freshman, and she was a junior, so there was little chance that was going to happen. But we became friends.

Pink House, Spring '92. Photo courtesy of Raj Krishnasami.

I wish I had written down my memories of Ericka like I'd planned to back then, because I'd love to remember every detail of all the times I spent hanging out with her late nights around her kitchen table on Short Street, passing through the familiar beaded curtains to find her (and often her housemate Banu, or other pals) eating ice cream or occasionally cooking up something more nutritious. Dropping by the SEAC HQ's, both office #1 on Franklin Street, then #2 on Rosemary, and watching her work day and night to make sure SEAC would continue taking things to the next level. Plotting with her on an ultimately unsuccessful plan to secure an off-campus house on Mallette Street that would double as an office space and crash pad for national staffers. Driving her to Raleigh one afternoon at breakneck speed through rush hour traffic because she had to file some important paperwork by 5 pm for SEAC's national incorporation. Going out to her Mom (Jennie Knoop)'s Granville County farm for a retreat and sitting under the stars together with all our fellow SEAC'ers in front of bonfires late into the night, feeling young and idealistic and full of life.

"UNC-CH students protest Exxon recruiting & policies," N&O, 10/20/90. From right: Lisa Abbott, Ericka Kurz, Jimmy Langman, Alec Guettal, David Biggs, Erik Ose. Dan Coleman and Greg Gangi are near the far left.

Last year I re-connected with former SEAC National Office staffer and Threshold editor Eric Odell. He wrote an eloquent tribute to Ericka that was read at her memorial service (also at her Mom's farm), and promised me he'd look for a copy to re-post here at some point. As time continues to pass, it bothers me more and more that Ericka's story remains largely untold. Although I did recently stumble across a long blog post that her Mom wrote in 2006, which is the most detailed account of her life and death available online. Ericka helped change the world in her not-quite-25 years (Dec. 5, 1968 - April 25, 1993), and had the potential to do so much more if she had lived longer. Her death was a heartbreaking tragedy and outrage.)

For more info about Ericka's organizing work with SEAC, visit The Ericka Kurz Archive.

Friday, April 16, 1993

Possible names for '96 anti-Helms voter registration coalition

(Editor's note from 2013 - recently on Facebook, Susan Comfort noted that Mark Chilton and myself were schooled by our time in SEAC (Students Engaged in Acronym Construction) to think up catchy names for some of our future political projects - for example, Musicians Organized for Voter Education (MOVE). She was right, and to prove it here's the list I came up with while trying to brainstorm what to call a sister organization to MOVE that could register more voters when Jesse Helms was next up for re-election, in 1996).

Democrats Organized for Voter Education (DOVE)

Stop Helms - Organize Voter Education (SHOVE)

Liberals Organized for Voter Education against Helms (LOVE a Helms)

Student Coalition for Voter Registration

Democratic Youth in Action

People for a Progressive North Carolina

Coalition for a Progressive North Carolina

Progressive United North Carolina (PUNC)

Congressional Club - Not!

Progressive Congressional Club

Revolutionary Citizens Coalition

Young People's Liberation Army

Voter Education Revolves around Youth (VERY) Project

Radical Revolutionary Liberation Power Movement

Coalition Against More Power to Helms (CAMP)-NC

Progressives Organize - We'll Educate Rednecks (POWER)

Just Educate Some Students Everyday (JESSE)

Monday, April 5, 1993

Braving blue paint at the '93 championship celebration

So last night I went out to confront the Carolina masses, braving winds, rain, and blue paint. Our victory celebration was in fine form, with thousands of (revelers) hooting and hollering, shooting fireworks into the crowd, throwing bottles, climbing into trees and ripping them to the ground, ad nauseam.

My entire neck and a good part of my hair got painted blue with oil-based. My fly new 1930's coat from Lebanon, New Hampshire was totally roont. I was so pissed. Check this out...Jenny was right there with me. Her immediate reaction? "Don't worry, honey, it's water based! It will wash right out!" Turns out she knew it was oil-based all along, she just didn't want me to be even more upset than I already was. I thought that was cute.

Her hair was painted, too, so we spent four hours applying solvents and other greasy solutions to each other's heads. Started off with synthetics like hairspray, rubbing alcohol, and nail polish remover, then moved on to more natural hair care products such as margarine, olive oil, and peanut butter.

- Letter to Dana, 4/6/93

"In College Hoops Country, The World Just Goes Away," Baltimore Sun, 4/2/95

Susan Mizell...remembers the 1993 championship and the "scary" thrill of celebrating on Franklin Street, a sort of self-contained and carefully controlled riot zone adjacent to the campus where students may burn the odd sofa and think again how blessed they are to be Tar Heels.

"In 1982," Ms. Mizell says, "they painted Franklin Street blue." (Editor's note: And did it again in '93!) Since then, hardware stores in Chapel Hill have been ordered to stock Carolina blue paint in the water-based variety only. Oil-based washes away slowly. Bars have long since been cautioned to serve beer in plastic containers.

Friday, April 2, 1993

Future of Black Cultural Center at UNC-CH remains unclear

Duke Chronicle, 4/2/93


The establishment of a Black Cultural Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill still faces obstacles months after its initial approval by UNC-CH Chancellor Paul Hardin.

In a meeting of UNC's board of trustees March 26, the first time the board discussed the center, Trustee John Pope proposed a resolution rejecting the creation of a free-standing center.

No vote was taken on the resolution or on the center itself, because several members said they needed more time and information before taking a position.

"I don't want to prejudge the chancellor," said Trustee David Whichard. He said he wants to wait until he sees Hardin's recommendation about a site and details for the center before making a decision.

The controversy over the center first caught the national eye in October, when a group of students campaigned for the establishment of a free-standing black cultural center. Their action on campus included protests and an appearance by film director Spike Lee.

While the center was approved by Hardin in October, it still needs final approval from the board of trustees.

Pope's resolution states that the university should not sanction facilities promoting a single race, creed or culture.

"I do believe that the proposed separate free-standing Black Cultural Center presents a risk of resegregation of both people and ideas on the university campus," Pope said, according to the News & Observer. "It is a major step toward abandoning our single American heritage and culture which unites diverse cultures and heritages under the principle of equality of rights of the individual."

The resolution was seconded by student body president John Moody.

Charles McNair, minister of information for the UNC-CH Black Student Movement, said he was "not surprised" by Pope's proposal to reject the center. McNair alleged that Pope said in 1988 that if black students want black culture, they should go to a black school.

About a dozen students sat in on the meeting, holding pro-BCC signs.


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