- On June 1, the healthcare professional opened the doors of his Washington, D.C. home to over 70 Black Lives Matter protesters, giving them shelter to escape from the police.
Indian American Rahul Dubey is among Time magazine’s Heroes of 2020 for giving shelter to those in need. The Indian American healthcare professional is among five people recognized by the magazine for going “above and beyond the call of duty in 2020.” On June 1, Dubey, 44, opened the doors of his Washington, D.C. home to over 70 Black Lives Matter protesters fleeing the police during a demonstration against the killing of George Floyd.
Speaking to Time nearly six months later, Dubey, who works in healthcare, says the move to open his door was driven by instinct. “I open my door, and I start yelling, ‘Get in!’” he tells Time. “All these people were swarming in.” Dubey said people “were coughing, crying, strangers pouring milk into strangers’ eyes,” and “were sharing information, writing down numbers for bail bondsmen. It was this real camaraderie.” Dubey tells Time that “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.”
Describing the incident as they happened on June 1, Dubey told ABC affiliate WJLA that he was sitting outside his home around 9:00 p.m. when he saw police forcing the protesters to the ground. He just flung the front door to his townhouse open and told people to get in. “People started piling up,” he told WJLA. People were coughing as the police began using pepper spray, Dubey said.
According to his LinkedIn page, Dubey was Senior Vice President, Innovation and Solutions at America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHP).
Dubey told Esquire that his family is from India and that he is a first generation American. “And God, man, do we love America,” he told the magazine. He said his father “came over here at age 19 with eight dollars in his pocket. His daughter rose to the top ranks of corporate America, and his son is one of the top innovators in the world in healthcare.”
A video taken at Dubey’s home, and posted on Twitter by Meka on June 1 showed people coughing. One of the protestors is seen holding a cloth to their eyes.
Dubey told NBC 4 that it was an “amazing group of people” in his home. He said protesters left when the curfew ended at 6 a.m. “They were doing nothing wrong other than to build a future that they want and that I want,” he said.
“I’ve lived in D.C. for 17 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Dubey told Esquire. He told the BBC that the group of strangers that was in his home on June 1 night represented America. “From age to race to ethnicity to sexual orientation, it was amazing, it was America,” he said.
As protestors left Dubey’s home on June 2, they were seen cheering the man who came to their rescue. USA Today reported that Dubey addressed the group. “Get home safe. Get some rest. Talk to each other,” the report quoted Dubey as saying. “Make sure you take care of that mental health, strength, so we can continue to go out there to rise peacefully with intelligence and make a solid argument. I love you guys.”
Also named as Time’s Heroes of 2020 are Australia’s volunteer firefighters “who risked everything to keep their country safe,” food-stall owners Jason Chua and Hung Zhen Long from Singapore “who didn’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,” and New Jersey newspaper delivery man Greg Dailey, who began a grocery drop-off service in mid-March.