Shasta Lake community vows to 'wash out racism'

Mar 25, 2015 8:05 PM by Charlene Cheng

Bell's Laundromat in the City of Shasta Lake has been in operation for the last nine months, but now, doing laundry here holds more meaning for its customers.

"This is a situation where we want to make the community aware and by the term, 'Washing Out Racism,' that there's no room for racism. So that's very symbolic," Eddie McAllister said.

Stephen Bell's business was the target of a hate crime last month.

He found a note on his bulletin board telling him that blacks aren't welcome.

"And then a few days after that, there was a sign under my coin machine that basically said, 'This dude is an n-word,'" Bell said.

Bell, a retired CHP division chief, was shocked.

"I was stunned. It really put me back because I've lived in Shasta Lake for almost three years and I've never had anything close to that," he said.

And he wasn't alone.

"I was horrified to find out that it had happened, that there was that kind of response from the community," Don Yost said.

Bell says that the support from the community was instant.

Customers replaced the negative notes with positive ones.

"We know what it's like. It can be tough. We stand here with him today to show support. We support him and our tribe supports him," said Greg Burgin Jr., who serves as Vice Chairman of the Wintu Tribe of Northern California.

Bell plans on adding cameras and hiring an attendant, but he makes it clear that he won't be going anywhere.

"I purchased this because I have a young son who's autistic, and long after I'm gone I want to be able to provide for him, and a laundromat can do that. So no one's going to change that and no one's ever going to deter me from taking care of my boys," he said.


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