A community in Nashville has rallied together after Shawn Dromgoole, a black man, posted to the Next Door app that he was afraid to walk outside, fearing he would not return home alive.
“My family has lived in this neighborhood on the corner of ninth and Knox for 54 years and I’m afraid to walk,” he wrote in the post, according to WZTV. “Yesterday I wanted to walk around my neighborhood but The fear of not returning home to my family alive kept me on my front porch.”
Dromgoole added, “Today I wanted to walk again and I could not make it off the porch. Then I called my mother Lynetra and she said she would walk with. I still kept my ID on me and my phone in my hand but I walked. #Icantbreath #icantsleep #icantwalk.”
His message came in the wake of national unrest following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis after a white police officer pinned him down with a knee on his neck. The officer, Derek Chauvin, has since been fired and charged with Floyd’s murder.
“When I was a kid, there was one thing my mom told me to remember and it was that I was a black man,” Dromgoole told Nashville’s News Channel 5. “In my mind, all these things are bombarding my thoughts and my emotions and I think, I don’t want to be a number.”
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About 50 community members from his area of Nashville came together to walk with Dromgoole, News Channel 5 reported.
“My neighbor said we’ll walk with you. One after one,” Dromgoole said.
“I was scared to walk alone and now look who is behind me. Look who has my back," he added. “I didn’t do any of this to be seen. I didn’t do anything for any reason. I just wanted to take a walk in my neighborhood, but if it’s going to change the way people see people like me, then I want to do that."
Dromgoole said he and his neighbors are planning to do another community walk next Thursday night starting at his house at 6 p.m. local time.