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Neighbors rally to support San Francisco dog walker targeted by racist threats

A diverse group of people sits on grass at an outdoor rally against racism with signs and a speaker.
Jack Song speaks out against racist messages sent to his neighbor Terry Williams during a “Rally Against Racism” event in Alamo Square. | Source: Jackson Stephens/The Standard

After two threatening racist messages were sent to a San Francisco dog walker, his friends and neighbors in the community convened for a “Rally Against Racism” Saturday to demand justice. 

Terry Williams, a born-and-raised Alamo Square resident known for walking dogs in the park, found a package left on his front porch on April 26. Inside was a blackface doll with a noose around its neck and racist slurs written on it. Another package with a doll was left at his door on May 5. 

The San Francisco Police Department told The Standard that both incidents are being actively investigated as hate crimes. No arrests have been made. 

But the case has garnered widespread attention, and Saturday’s rally drew a sizable crowd of about 100 people, who convened on the park’s sunny hillside holding handmade posters that read, “No hate, only love” and “No to racism.” 

Bruce Hill, who has lived next door to Williams since 1998, said he was shocked when he learned of the hate crimes. 

“Terry looks after this neighborhood,” Hill said. “The fact that he was attacked when he’s a protector of this beautiful space we all live in is shocking and what that person did to him is cowardly.”

“This hate crime is just absolutely insidious,” said Jack Song, one of the rally organizers and a neighbor of Williams for 20 years.

The Rev. Amos Brown, a local civil rights leader and president of San Francisco’s NAACP chapter, delivered a speech to thank attendees for standing up against “bigotry, nooses, black dolls and all the paraphernalia that has dehumanized Black folks.”

“That’s what this boils down to,” he said, “and we must see we are all members of the same human family.”

A woman with sunglasses holds a sign with hearts and "Terry ❤️ Dogs" in a sunny, crowded park.
Kyoko Egtijichi, a neighbor of Terry Williams, holds up a sign supporting him at the “Rally Against Racism” event Saturday. | Source: Jackson Stephens/The Standard

The idea for the rally came from a neighborhood WhatsApp group chat with about 60 members, who suggested different ways they could support Williams. 

“He is such a terrific guy, and we all love him and want to show him support,” Song said

Another reason for holding a public rally is to put pressure on SFPD and District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston to allocate more resources to finding the perpetrator.

Williams' neighbors also launched a GoFundMe campaign on April 30 to help raise funds for his family to install security cameras on their property. 

The page raised over $12,000 of a $15,000 goal by the end of the week.

Jackson Stephens can be reached at jstephens@sfstandard.com