I first met Thadeaus around 2002/03 during the various Iraq War protests in NYC and Washington DC. His quiet demeanor and clear dedication to the cause immediately stood out to me. A few months later, I was honored to visit a building he had opened up for squatting close to where I lived in the Lower East Side. I was impressed by his skill in successfully making a home in an abandoned building in the center of Manhattan in the Giuliani era (not an easy task). I heard many stories of his commitment to hold the building, as the forces-that-be sought to take it back for "development." He kept up the fight for as long as humanly possible and only moved on when he had to. In the years since, I've run into him a number of times in the streets during actions and appreciated his clear headedness. As things get chaotic, and some other activists start making poor decisions, I feel like I can rely on his judgment to do the right thing at the right time to hold space, protect himself and the others around him, and generally to make an action as successful as it possibly can be.
His long-term commitment (more than a decade at this point) to the cause for positive change through a variety of NYC-based projects has had a significant, positive and lasting impact on the community here. As I have shifted my own focus towards art making, I always knew he was a lifer. I truly believe his sustained effort contributed to making OWS as successful as it was and I want him to be able to continue his good work in peace.
No one is perfect. I sometimes worry the activist community moves too quickly to tar and feather those amongst us that have fallen short of our ideals, when the reality is we all fall short at some point. I think we need to practice more positive and effective means of establishing accountability when mistakes are made. The level of ad-hoc violence that he has been subjected to during recent years, violates my own sense of justice and proportional response. More importantly, this random and inarticulate retribution has had a detrimental impact on the NYC activist community at large. I've never questioned the importance of his place within the NYC activist community and hope this website helps to make a safer place for his good work to continue. I offer this testimonial as a positive endorsement of Thadeaus and his sustained commitment to making the world a better place now and into the future.