Neighborhood rallies around SF fire victim also targeted in racist incidents

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A large group of people came to San Francisco’s Alamo Square neighborhood Sunday to show their support and help one family rebuild their home and their lives.

Terry Williams’ boarded up home is now covered in loving messages from neighbors, friends and community supporters. Many of them attended a Sunday afternoon barbecue and fundraiser for the family.

“He’s a loving person. He loves animals and he loves the people. He’s helpful to all the neighbors,” said Connie McGrath of San Francisco.

Flames tore through Williams’ family home Tuesday morning and firefighters had to rescue his parents. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“We hear different stories, but we haven’t got nothing confirmed yet,” Williams said.

The fire broke out while Williams was at San Francisco City Hall. Supervisors were discussing a resolution, denouncing the racist mail he’s received twice in the last few weeks.

Longtime neighbors are appalled.

“People just feel free to hate now more than love. That’s what’s sad,” McGrath said.

“San Francisco is supposed to be this safe inclusive place, and then something like this happens, and it’s just heartbreaking,” said Clarice Torrey of San Francisco.

Residents said that Williams and his family are like family to them, and they showed up in big numbers today, coming with donations of clothes and household goods and money.

Williams is a well-known professional dog walker and he said he’s also faced racist comments in Alamo Square Park. Other professional dog walkers were also on hand to show support to Williams on Sunday.

“It feels awesome man. It really does. It humbles me because so many people showed up. So, I'm really proud and grateful,” Williams said.

Two GoFundMe pages to help the family is close to its goal of $225,000.

After Sunday’s event, Williams said they have the money needed to renovate their home and return to the neighborhood they love so much.

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