A Nashville community has banded together to protect Shawn Dromgoole, a Black man who shared online his fears of walking home alone.
He shared a heartbreaking message to the Nextdoor app, a social networking application for neighbourhood communities.
“My family has lived in this neighbourhood … for 54 years and I’m afraid to walk,” he wrote in a Facebook post, according to WZTV. “Yesterday I wanted to walk around my neighbourhood but the fear of not returning home to my family alive kept me on my front porch.”
Dromgoole continued: “Today I wanted to walk again and I could not make it off the porch. Then I call 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.”
He finished the post with the hashtags #Icantbreath , #Icantsleep and #Icantwalk, alluding to the recent racially charged death of George Floyd, 46, who said “I can’t breathe” as he was held under the foot of white police officer Derek Chauvin for several minutes.
Chauvin was charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter. An autopsy commissioned by Floyd’s family found that he died of asphyxiation.
After seeing the post, around 50 of his community members came together to walk with Dromgoole in a display of solidarity, News Channel 5 reported.
“My neighbour said, ‘We’ll walk with you’,” he said. “One after one.”
Last Thursday, Dromgoole live-streamed the flood of neighbours walking with him in a since-deleted video.
“When I was a kid, there was one thing my mom told me to remember and it was that I was a Black man,” he told the broadcast station. “In my mind, all these things are bombarding my thoughts and my emotions and I think, I don’t want to be a number.”
He continued: “And then there were people on their front porches, clapping and cheering on their balconies, it was so mind-blowing.”
His neighbours are seemingly grateful for the opportunity to help protect a member of their community.
“I think that was really an act of bravery for him to even share that with us and to let us know how he was feeling, and give us a chance to learn and to support him,” his neighbour Kristin Keiper-Berneman, who joined on the walk, told News Channel 5.
Dromgoole will be hosting another walk next Thursday, and all are welcome.
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