Heidi Russell is the Neighbour You Want in a Crisis #AtoZChallenge

Heidi Russell, living in Tenino, Washington, was shocked when she woke up one Saturday morning and looked out her window. Racial slurs and 'KKK' (a reference to the hate-filled racist Ku Klux Klan group) had been spray-painted all over her neighbours - the Phillips, who were on vacation - house and car. The warning in those slurs were clear - that the Phillips were not welcome here and it was time for them to leave.

Heidi had other ideas, though. Determined not to let racial hate win, she woke up the town with calls and social media and a singular message - “I want the racist cowards to know that we WILL NOT stand for this in our small town.”

When she woke up and realized her neighbour Philips's house and car had been targeted by racist vandals who were warning them to leave her neighbourhood, Heidi Russell decided to push back. She rallied the local football and cheerleading squads to help paint over all the racist graffiti. Even the police officer who came to take the report ended up pitching in. Though he was shaken, Phillips was grateful to Heidi and the folk of Tenino who stood up when it mattered to show him he was family.


Volunteers from all over Tenino poured in quickly, including members of the youth football League and cheerleading squads. Even the police officer who had come to take the official report joined in and helped with the painting.

When she woke up and realized her neighbour Philips's house and car had been targeted by racist vandals who were warning them to leave her neighbourhood, Heidi Russell decided to push back. She rallied the local football and cheerleading squads to help paint over all the racist graffiti. Even the police officer who came to take the report ended up pitching in. Though he was shaken, Phillips was grateful to Heidi and the folk of Tenino who stood up when it mattered to show him he was family.


In less than 24 hours, by the time the Phillips family returned home, the graffiti across the house had been entirely painted over. The damage to the interior of Phillips' truck was more extensive but once more, local car shop companies stepped up promising the mayor that they would 'repair, restore or replace' Philips vehicle.

Though he was shaken, Phillips is grateful to Heidi and the folk of Tenino who stood up when it mattered to show him he was family.

Final thoughts:

It isn't always easy to be kind. Sometimes it takes a lot of courage to stand up and choose kindness when being silent seems far easier. Heidi is a white woman. That did not matter to her but in today's world, it makes her stand against the white supremacist vandals to defend a black man all the more laudable. Staying silent when we come across racism - especially racism by one of our own kind -  is never an answer because it allows the hate-filled minds to win.

Author's note:

This is part of my #AtoZChallenge where I will be focusing on Real Life Heroes of Kindness and Compassion.
The list for this year's (2018) Heroes of Kindness can be found here.
Of course, I have been tracking these lovely human beings for years now and have found children as young as six years old and old women in their eighties from across the world who will restore your faith in humanity. You can find the entire list of Real-life Heroes of Kindness and Compassion here.




22 Comments

  1. She is indeed not only kind but brave too- loved reading about her determintation to get the wrongness out of her neighbourhood.If we all stood by our neighbours and respect other communities- there 'd be no riots and killings in name of religion and caste!
    My H is also on Heidi :-)

    H is for Heidi #atozchallenge

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  2. Wow.. this is a much needed story.. everyone must read this .. racist or not.. so much can happen when humans unite....

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  3. Lovely story. It's so important to take a stand and rally around someone who has been targeted.

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  4. I agree it is not always easy to be kind but often takes courage. Another beautiful and inspiring story Roshan.
    https://trinalooksback.com/2018/04/09/halum-jhulum-the-tale-of-two-brothers/

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  5. That's one brave woman - the kind the world needs more of!
    Hats off to Heidi Russell!

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  6. It reminds me of Gurmehar Kaur. I don't know whether anything changed in the country or not but her life changed completely after her one tweet that she was not afraid of someone.

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  7. Standing up for something you feel strongly about is wonderful and so very needed in the times we live. We have more of arm chair activists, but here is one lady who walked the talk. Kudos to Heidi for raising her voice!

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  8. This story conveyed a lovely message which must be put near the doormats of all ignorant pokey nose neighbours of our country who interfere in others matters,instead of helping them like they do in other countries..Lovely day sir

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  9. We definitely need people like Heidi in our society, especially here in India now! God knows what we are going through now!
    Kohl Eyed Me
    Something's Cooking

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  10. NovemberschildApril 09, 2018

    Whenever you hear the word 'hero' you probably automatically put the word 'super' in front of it and pictures the Avengers beating up some alien things coming out of the sky over New York. These heroes of yours are always ridiculously good looking, they're built like a tank and they always have some distinctive outfit or cape which sets them apart from the rest of the group.

    Your hero is perfect in every way; they can do no wrong, they always arrive on time, they look impeccable and they stick to a moral guideline which is built in to them. They become a somebody by saving 'ordinary' people on a daily basis and everyone wants to be like them. Everyone wants to be different. No one wants to be the Max Dillon's of the world where they feel like they don't exist and they're just another number instead of an actual human being.

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  11. Heidi is a hero - all hail to Heidi! Thanks so much - a lovely H post ...

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  12. That required a lot of courage on Heidi's part but it is a really wonderful thing that she did. We need more people like her.

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  13. Standing up is alwsys hard.Good that Heidi was brave

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  14. Heidi did what felt right to her. Kindness is not easy but hats off to her and her bravery.

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  15. People like Heidi have real hearts of gold. Now that I am on a foreign land, I know their worth.

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  16. The kind acts people are capable of, if they put their mind to it. May we be them!
    Heidi you rock!

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  17. Every human must read this and take a lesson from her. Where ever she is, I salute her!

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  18. Heidi has taken stand against all odds which is inspiring. Racing voice against racism is not so easy

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  19. An awesome act of kinds yet again.

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  20. In today's world when we don't even know the name of our neighbors, it is a blessing to have such warm people around.

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  21. Another real hero of Kindness. I do love reading these stories on your blog. Comeback to read them again. Heidi tool up such a stance against racism and the entire town stood up. Touched

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  22. Wow that was a brave move. Trolls and racists should be treated alike for morons that they are.

    PhenoMenon
    http://phenomenalworld.in/healthy-cookies-snack-bars-unibic/

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So what do you think ?