Indian-American Rahul Dubey, who had opened the doors of his Washington DC home to over 70 people demonstrating against the killing of George Floyd, has been hailed among the ‘Heroes of 2020’ by the TIME magazine, honoring those who “went above and beyond the call of duty” this year.
In the ‘Heroes of 2020’ the publication also named Australia’s volunteer firefighters who risked everything to keep their country safe, food-stall owners Jason Chua and Hung Zhen Long in Singapore who wouldn’t let anyone go hungry during the COVID-19 pandemic, Pastor Reshorna Fitzpatrick and her husband Bishop Derrick Fitzpatrick of Chicago, who transformed their church to support their community during the trying year.
A newspaper deliveryman Greg Dailey, who began a grocery drop-off service in mid-March to anyone in need along his paper route and has since supplied more than 140 homes and conducted over 1,000 grocery runs in New Jersey’s Mercer county, was also named by the magazine.
“From citizens providing food and shelter to those in need to volunteers who protected their neighbors from natural disasters, these heroes went above and beyond the call of duty in 2020,” TIME said. TIME described Dubey as “The Man Who Gave Shelter to Those in Need.”
On June 1, as demonstrators filled the streets of Washington DC to protest the killing of African-American Floyd, Dubey was home, not far from the White House.
After a 7 PM curfew, he noticed crowds in the street outside as “police had set up barricades seemingly to trap protesters, and were pepper-spraying those who remained. Dubey decided to take action,” TIME said. “I open my door, and I start yelling, “Get in!’” says Dubey, who works in the health care sector. “All these people were swarming in.”
Dubey said he gave about 70 protesters refuge in his home, housing them overnight to avoid curfew breaches. “People were coughing, crying, strangers pouring milk into strangers’ eyes,” Dubey said. “They were sharing information, writing down numbers for bail bondsmen. It was this real camaraderie.”
A report in TIME said Dubey claims police officers made several attempts to breach his sanctuary that evening: posing as protesters trying to get inside, and attempting to intercept the pizza delivery he had ordered for his houseguests.
The move to open his door was driven by instinct, Dubey says nearly six months later. “It’s what was needed.”