Earl and Cynthia Brownlow have received an outpouring of support from the community after discovering racial slurs spray painted on their cars one morning in July. The cars had been parked in the driveway outside their home on Westwood Street in Sherman. Police have not yet been able to identify any suspects.
Local auto repair shops National Auto Collision in Sherman and Star Auto Body and Alignments in Howe insisted on repairing the Brownlows’ vehicles for free.
“That was really touching to me because they are in business to make money but they let it go past the money and looked at it for what it actually was,” Earl Brownlow said. “That’s what started touching my heart.”
Star Auto Body and Alignment owner Bobby Ritchie said he heard about the incident a few weeks after it occurred and his business reached out to see if it could help.
“They were a little suspicious at first but ultimately it worked out really well,” Ritchie said. “If we can’t look out for each other, then we aren’t doing it right. We try to help out when and where we can.”
The Brownlows also received support from their church, Legacy Bible. Earl Brownlow said the pastor suggested members show their support for the family one Sunday. Members of the church came to the Brownlows’ home and stood in support of the family.
“The support was over 130 people,” Earl Brownlow said. “That was so touching to my family and I. It meant more than they will ever know. Because, as you can see, we are a minority in that church. It’s not about that and they proved it. It’s about where your heart is and where your mind is and how you relate to people.”
The Brownlows have lived in their current neighborhood for the past three years. Earl Brownlow said as far as he knows his family was the first minority to own a home on that street.
“We were accepted like it’s not a big deal,” Earl Brownlow said. “And then when this happened, we really saw where our neighbor’s hearts were. From Kessler to Western Hills, the street we live on, the people just came. They told us how pleased they were to have us in the neighborhood. We have a good relationship with all of the neighbors on our street. We’ve cooked for each other, we’ve done for each other when one of us was out of town. The street I live on, the neighbors are tightly unified.”
The Brownlows plan to hold a yearly cookout promoting community with neighbors and church-members. Earl Brownlow hopes to have neighbors exchange contact information to help promote safety and awareness within the neighborhood.
“Neighbors don’t do that anymore,” Earl Brownlow said. “What I want to do is make that subdivision be known as a unified subdivision. This may deter crime. It needs to be known that we are a unified community not just a neighborhood. There’s a difference in a neighborhood and a community. I really want that to be known.”
Earl Brownlow said his family wants people to hear about the positive support they received following the incident. He went on to advise anyone in a similar situation to refrain from feeding into the negativity.
“Try not to allow your mind to get on the level of whoever did it,” Earl Brownlow said. “Stay on a level where you are trusting and believing in something bigger than you are, which is God almighty. Put yourself around like minded people. Don’t allow negativity to be part of your life.”